Mark Moses is a man who stands out in a crowd. Clearly marching to the beat of his own drum, the owner and general manager of Indian Motorcycle Charlotte is not only committed to outrageously high standards of customer service, but also crafting his customers’ experience in his own image. And that means with formidable passion. A lifelong fan of the Indian brand, Moses has without a doubt made lemonade from the lemons in order to turn his passion into undeniable success.
In the early 2000s, Moses was a successful hot rod company owner. The builder wanted to create something different and unique and found it in the Indian motorcycle brand. Moses sold his hot rod shop and opened an Indian motorcycle dealership in Toledo, Ohio. “I’d been an Indian fan for most of my life,” says Moses. “That was my preferred brand primarily because it was unique and different and they had a great story. I was so inspired by that I wanted to see if I could actually open a successful dealership.”
His shop was the area’s first and only Indian-specific dealership. A naturally gifted marketer with larger-than-life ideas, he attracted over 15,000 people to attend the store’s grand opening, which included a band, fireworks, even the chairman of Indian motorcycles. In September 2003, exactly eight weeks later, Indian went out of business. “It was a dark day for myself, my business and my wallet,” Moses says.
With an innate affinity for iconic brands, Moses returned to his customizing roots and quickly brought on brands like Iron Horse and Big Dog in order to salvage the business. He was also a fan of Triumph’s brand story, so Moses also brought them into the fold and did quite well with these cycles – in fact he was a leader of the pack in terms of sales of those motorcycles.
The problem was that Moses’ passion for these brands wasn’t nearly what it was for the Indian brand. Although officially out of business, he continued servicing the brand, supplying parts and taking an active role on the forums and community in order to help the then-abandoned customers find parts and to repair their motorcycles. In doing so, Moses cultivated a reputation for being an “expert” and a valuable resource for Indian motorcycle owners across the nation.
As fate would have it, in the spring of 2004, the Indian brand was purchased by the British private equity group Stellican Ltd., a company known for breathing life back into iconic brands and then selling them. Moses’ passion and knowledge for the brand preceded him, and Stellican contacted Moses. Moses began consulting for them, and was ultimately offered a management position.
Moses sold everything he owned in Ohio and moved to North Carolina with renewed enthusiasm and excitement. “It was a real opportunity to play a role in history by helping put this brand back on the map the right way,” he says. He became one of the managers of the company, tasked with establishing the retail footprint, designing and building the stores, including the flagship store. It turned out that there was no one better suited to run the first store, so Moses quit the corporate job and effectively bought the store.
Fast forward a few years later and Polaris purchased Indian Motorcycle. With the Charlotte flagship store located 20 miles from the then-factory, a lot of the negotiations for the sale to Polaris took place at Moses’ location. As a showplace for the brand, he was able to illustrate to the powers-that-be exactly what the brand could become when they looked at his retail footprint.
So it happened that Moses had direct input into Polaris building the brand. He organized focus groups of Indian owners for Polaris to meet with, and gave his input from a merchandising standpoint. “It could not have been a better finish to that whole story with Polaris coming forward using its strengths and engineering power. It was a great place for Indian to go and a great thing to happen to Polaris,” Moses says.
Moses has worked very hard to promote Indian Motorcycle in a positive way. He’s active on the online forums, Indian community, very active on Facebook, and finds that makes the difference. The dealership’s day-to-day focus is on local sales, but there’s a carryover from the internet and Moses’ longstanding involvement with the brand. Indian Motorcycle Charlotte is the only Indian dealership catering to all three of the brand’s incarnations of motorcycles.
“Our attention is 100 percent rifle shot focused on the brand and on our business. We don’t work with any other brands. We’re very involved with a lot of aftermarket companies that are developing products, we’re very actively involved with the performance programs and we’re heavily involved in custom work,” he says.
While it’s Moses’ mantra of “Never, never, never give up” that has enabled him to ride the waves of Indian’s fortune and ultimately become very successful, it’s his passion for the Indian brand that has ultimately put him in the perfect position to enjoy the fruits of his hard labor.