Expanding in the Midwest

Kansas dealer cashes in on farm market and enthusiast bikers

Passionate Roots

For Dan Erb, his adventure in the motorcycle industry started when he was just 13 years old, when he bought a Honda C110 with a 50cc motor and took it all apart to see how it worked.

Erb started tinkering on bikes in earnest 1974, and within a year he was working for a local Honda dealer. He soon became a service manager and then crossed the counter to take over as sales manager. When the downturn of 1980 hit, Erb went back to school and entered another industry, but continued working part-time at a dealership during the ‘80s and early ‘90s. During this time, his passion for motorcycles continued to grow as did his personal collection of vintage motorcycles.

Dan ‘s Cycle Is Born

In 1995, Erb opened Dan’s Cycle to work on personal project bikes and a few customer bikes at his own pace. By the year 2001, Erb carried Arctic Cat and Kawasaki, had a few employees and was still maintaining a full-time job. It wasn’t until 2002 that he retired from his nine-to-five after 20 years and focused all his energy on Dan’s Cycle.

As time went on, the sales of ATVs and Kawasaki street bikes helped Erb build his small empire in Hesston, Kansas, and its surrounding farming communities of south central Kansas.

Momentum Builds

Fast forward a few years, and Dan’s Cycle started to burst at the seams. The original 35×50 building was expanded to add a tire warehouse, a separate shop for three full-time mechanics, a showroom for new units, a parts room and a main showroom for parts and accessories, but this still
wasn’t enough.

This year, construction on the new Dan’s Cycle location on the opposite side of town was completed after a two-year build-out. Construction was done in stages, and Erb leaned on his 20-year history in maintenance to do a good deal of the work himself. Meanwhile, his dedicated wife Kamme took the helm at the dealership. Her help as well as the assistance of his a seasoned staff of employees made the transition from the older series of structures to the single, modern 18,000-square-foot building a lot easier. Moving the inventory took several weeks, but business was never interrupted — he didn’t want to be closed during the move and miss the opportunity for parts or unit sales.

Expanded Opportunities

With a much larger sales floor than before, Erb was excited to expand his business. The parts department now has more brands of off-road helmets and boots along with casual wear, street riding apparel and V-Twin hard parts. Over in new unit sales, the inventory is now displayed indoors, and the used street bike inventory is up to a dozen units. Erb told us one of the joys of owning a dealership is the never-ending challenge that each day presents. Even at the end of what may have been a hectic day, he knows the next will present all new challenges.

Erb told us the next few years could be exciting: “With the new building, we’ll need more product and staff.”

They even added new zero-turn Big Dog mowers this spring that are made by Excel Industries. He jokes that it would be great to meet a fellow who wanted to buy it all from him, so he could go back to that original little building and work on bikes at a slower pace. Until then, he’ll keep doing what he’s been doing for the last 15 years — taking each day one at a time and getting as much done as he can.

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