Gail’s Motorcycles is a large, modern shop housed in a distinctive, attractive building that’s surrounded by a massive parking lot. It’s located right off Interstate 49, just south of Kansas City, Missouri, and on first approach, it’s undoubtedly impressive. That’s not only by design but driven by owner Gail Worth’s personal and business presence as a woman with a dynamic imagination who dreams big, then takes action to turn her visions into reality. Her energy is contagious, sweeping up those in her wake and infusing others with her fearless, positive gusto for life. I confess to being totally captivated when I visited.
Worth’s self-named Harley-Davidson (H-D) dealership opened in 1999 at a smaller location in Belton, Missouri, just one exit south of the current location. When Worth decided to create a new home for the dealership in 2004, she asked her team to dream big with her and provide input. She worked with the architect to design the almost 50,000-square-foot building, making sure it would be unique among Harley dealerships. The plan incorporated natural materials, high ceilings that left building systems exposed, and a variety of shapes and surfaces to retain what Worth calls a homey feel.
The resulting facility oozes feelings of a walk along Main Street USA, with rustic brick, stripped awnings and various areas to explore. Tons of natural light flood the space through windows that end a foot or two shy of the ground for security.
“I imagined a dealership that, when people walked in, they’d say, ‘Wow, this is so cool!’” Worth says. “But even better, when they left, they’d say, ‘Wow, that was a great experience. I’m going to tell my friends.’
“That first wow is bought. If you borrow enough money, you can make it happen. But the second wow comes from inside, from feeling the power.”
‘Feel the Power’ was adopted as the company slogan, initially referring to the power of the Harley-Davidson engine. But, she explained, “It’s also about feeling the power inside, the power in each and every one of us that makes us get up in the morning to go out there and make a difference. It’s what this team does every day.”
As it happened, in 2020 various factors caused Worth to give up the H-D franchise. To keep the showroom full, she took on several other brands, plus dirt bikes, side-by-sides and more. Still, she imagines — and imagining is something she does a lot of — that the beguiling eyes in the Gail’s company logo reflect the eyes of H-D’s performance-defining Screamin’ Eagle. Her enthusiasm for the Harley-Davidson brand persists in force. The shop’s current focus is selling late-model, pre-owned Harleys, which is 95% of the business, supplemented by bikes they take in on trade and a few vehicles that remain from the transition.
“It was a relief to be out from under the OEM, though there are a few drawbacks,” she admits. For one, there’s no factory truck delivering bikes weekly, so Gail now employs two full-time buyers to do that. They smartly scour auction companies, carefully choosing pristine, low-mileage motorcycles and often buy directly from bike owners. It helps to have a loyal customer base solid word-of-mouth public relations, aided by an in-house riding group: formerly the HOG club, now the Heartland Riders Adventure Group. Gail’s has become known as the place where you’ll be treated fairly if you want to sell your late-model Harley.
“I sell pre-owned, but my bikes look brand-new,” she says. “Our customers get to buy a low-mileage bike that’s already taken its initial depreciation hit, and any extras the previous owner added are a bonus.”
Gail’s has access to OEM parts and accessories through local franchised dealerships and works with all the major aftermarket suppliers and distributors, such as Drag Specialties, Western Power Sports, Tucker and LS2 for gear. Winter storage is offered, encouraging performance upgrades and custom work to build business off season for the 35-person staff, a practical factor in the Midwest. The large, well-appointed service department includes two H-D Master Techs, a full-time metric mechanic, a dyno and more. Gail’s customers benefit from the shop’s strong network and good relationships in the local business community, including references for pre-twin cam and older V-twin owners.
As for the dealership’s network, it’s been in place for decades because Worth grew up in the area. Her father built drag bikes and hung out with Terry Vance and Byron Hines — before they were Vance & Hines. Worth drag-raced on the local circuit, making a name for herself well before she built one of the few women-owned H-D dealerships in the country — a fact she’s never focused on, choosing instead to ignore barriers, work hard and aid the community. Her attitude and approach is and has always been, “I am equal; I belong here.”
“I was far more helped than hindered by the men at Harley-Davidson and my fellow dealers,” she says. “I have never been treated as less than. I think you get what you look for.”
You also get what you work for. When Gail’s was a franchised H-D dealer, she was president of the dealer advisory council. Worth is a founding board member of the National Powersports Dealer Association (NPDA) and part of the Iron Lilly advisory board. And, by the way, she has owned Shawnee Cycle Plaza in Shawnee, Kansas, taking the opportunity to buy the store five years ago, selling Kawasaki, Honda, Yamaha, CFMoto and even lawn mowers. A long-time family friend is the general manager there.
Before H-D spun off the LiveWire brand, Worth carried those bikes too. In fact, the regional electric company put a charging station in Worth’s parking lot then, as the state was building charging infrastructure along the nation’s interstates and the dealership’s location was favorable. There are no plans at the moment to carry e-bikes, but the charging station leaves the door open at Gail’s to “feel the power” as the industry changes.
Looking ahead with confidence and courage is what Gail’s Motorcycles and Worth herself are all about. It’s reflected in her distinctive laugh, the strength of her personality and her endless enthusiasm. Worth’s gutsy attitude is equally apparent in business as when she drag raced, regardless of the logo or company name on her building.
Gail’s outlook on life is best said this way: “In life, if it’s not scary, it’s not fun!”
5900 E. State Route 150
Grandview, MO 64030