Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Why I love Harley-Davidson (and why you should care)

     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 best.

     I applied for and got the cashier job at what was then Iron Block Harley-
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.
My 2004 Dyna Super Glide