– handlebars that is... I grew up riding horses & dirt bikes, but I really didn’t start living until I began working at a Harley-Davidson dealership. Then my life got even better when I began riding my own Harley motorcycle. Since then I haven’t looked back. After all, if you’re going to balance on two wheels, you’ve got to #KeepMovingForward
Surprise!! I haven’t always worked at F.X. Caprara
Harley-Davidson (also known as FXCHD), located in Northern New York, just 30
miles from the Ontario, Canada border. In fact, a lot of people are surprised
when I tell them I’m originally from Northern California. So here’s a brief
history on how I got here from there and why I love working at the dealership.
My mom living vicariously through me...
Growing up in San Jose – considered part of the San
Francisco Bay Area – I was your average tom boy. My mom had me in ice skating,
ballet and piano lessons but ever since age 5 I was horse crazy. It took me a
while but I eventually convinced my mom that horses were cheaper and I started
working at the local riding stable in exchange for lessons. While in high
school I’d get weird looks from the guys because I could lift an 80 pound grain
sack and ride a dirt bike to check the pasture fences – I guess they thought a
girl couldn’t or shouldn’t do that…. but I actually got a kick out of
surprising them because I could.
I did some modeling to pay for college, where I took classes
towards an associate’s degree in medical assisting. I thoroughly enjoy helping
people and I figured the medical field was the best place to do that. Shortly
after college, while working at a medical clinic in Cupertino, I met the man
who would become my husband. He joined the Army as an infantry soldier which
had us living in Germany for six years. Thanks to military’s COLA (Cost Of
Living Allowance), I didn’t have to work – so I enjoyed the freedom and
continued to ride horses, and ride BMW motorcycles & drive our 35i on the
Autobahn (if you like to go fast, that’s the place to be!!). In 2003 we were
stationed at Fort Drum – without COLA I had to find a job fast in order to help
support our family. With my medical background I found a job with an insurance
company processing claims – I was still helping people but the rules and
regulations were stifling. It was eventually my undoing. I got into an
argument with one of my senior managers and was fired (and then the senior
manager who fired me was fired three weeks later!). I had never been fired
from any job before and I thought it was the worst thing – turns out it was the
I applied for and got the cashier job at what was then Iron
Modeling in the 90s
Davidson. I remember I was told by the owners, “There isn’t
anything we sell here that people [think they] need. We sell dreams – dreams of
freedom and life on two wheels. Then they realize they needed it all along.” I
was helping people once again, helping them find life on two wheels. My husband
was transferred to Fort McPherson and I was lucky enough to get a job at
Harley-Davidson of Atlanta. After years of riding horses, dirt bikes and other
people’s bikes, I finally got my first Harley – a 2004 Dyna Super Glide.
Eventually our family was transferred back to Fort Drum and I got my job back
at Iron Block Harley-Davidson. In May 2013 the dealership was bought by the
Caprara Brothers and became FXCHD.
I love the freedom my job brings! Of course we still have projects
to complete, reports to look at, schedules to make, etc., etc. But I also get
to share my passion for motorcycling with other motorcycle enthusiasts –
customers as well as co-workers. When you go to a big box store, do you get the
sense the employees are passionate about the job they’re doing?? When I get to
work I talk with our master mechanic about the bike he’s working on, I’ll see a
good customer who’ll tell me about their motorcycle trip to ride the Tail of
the Dragon, I’ll meet customers who have ridden up from PA and tell them my
favorite back roads to get them to the
Celebrating my birthday in 2014
Adirondacks, I’ll show a new rider a
selection of riding jackets for both protection and comfort, and celebrate with our District Manager the birth of his first grand-child. And yes, my co-workers
are the same way – we all genuinely care for each other (aside from the
occasional squabble) and our customers, and all will take time to help each
other out. Plus, I get to surprise the occasional customer when I say, "Yeah, I ride my own."
Why should this matter to you?? Well, it might not matter to
you at all. But if you like quality over quantity, if you like to know that the
employees actually care about you as a person, if you like people who will
gladly drop by the part you’ve special ordered, then the simple fact that
myself and my co-workers are passionate about our work here at FXCHD should
matter. If you would like to experience the freedom of life on two wheels, we
invite you to come in and try it out for yourself. If you’re an experienced
rider we invite you to stop on in, stretch your legs and grab a hot cup of coffee.
Even if you’re not a rider – you’re just looking for that perfect gift for a
loved one – come on over and check out what we have. You can even take a cruise
by our website, Facebook and Twitter pages to get a taste of what we’re about.
My Life Behind Bars has only gotten better since the day I
got involved with Harley-Davidson, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.