Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Greatest Gift of All

A great time was had by all at the FX Caprara Car
Companies annual Christmas party. Unfortunately Captain
Morgan and I tied one on pretty good and I failed to take any pictures myself.... It happens!! That just means I relied on others - so that's what these pictures are. We can clean up pretty good!!

And then shortly after that Christmas day arrived at last. I am thankful for all the gifts I received - and it seems at least one person reads this blog!! That, along with a bottle of Irish Cream, new clothes, and the complete set of Ballykissangel were just some I received. 

I'd like to think I gave as good of gifts as I got.... I gave soft,
cuddly and warm pj pants to my daughter so she can relax during her time off from school (it's her freshman year in college this year). To my son I gave a replica of the bike Jax Teller rode in the last episode of Sons of Anarchy - this is something even his dad doesn't have - giving him the gift of having the upper hand. 

But of all that, the absolute best gift I received this year was
both kids being home for the holidays. Since they're both young adults and finding their own way in life, I don't know how much longer that will happen - so I'll take it while I can get it.

All the while looking forward to the new year - at FXCHD we have lots of good things coming up in 2016. Kate & I will be going to Phoenix for Harley-Davidson's winter meeting. Then on January 23rd we will be hosting our first ever Artistry in Iron Paint Party - something I'm really looking forward to! Also in 2016 look forward to H-D 101 which is for those who want to take the
first step into the world of motorcycling. And we have more in the works, so be sure to check in on our Website Events Page and/or our Facebook Events.

This is my last post for the year - I'm taking this week off to spend with my kids. So, until next year, all of us at FXCHD wish you the best and may you have all that you need in 2016!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Getting down to the wire....

Today is the day of the BIG F.X. Caprara Car Company Christmas party!! And with Christmas happening in 4 more days, we at FXCHD are getting down to the wire making sure all our stuff has been taken care of!! 

For instance, here I am creating emails like this one & sending them out to all our customers, updating our Facebook and Twitter pages, planning events in 2016, creating flyers, and making sure all my warranty claims are filed. Here's a picture of my "desk" (which is really the MotorClothes counter at the back of our dealership) taken this past Thursday:
PLUS I still had to find something to wear to the Christmas party!! I absolutely love to dress-up (part of my modeling days coming through!!) and last year I wore a beautiful dress by Ralph Lauren. This year however, the RL dress I fell in love with was $598, was on sale for $249 when I still had time to get it - still a bit pricey for me (now it's down to $179.99 but too late for me to get!!). So I opted for a 'fancy' ladies shirt by Harley-Davidson - it is where I work after all!! See what it looks like on the hanger >
But despite all the Hustle and Bustle, I still had time to meet up with my girlfriends at The Crystal Restaurant for a Christmas tradition - drinking a Tom & Jerry:
L to R: me (aka Irish), Halo & Black Widow
I've been riding with these beautiful ladies for nearly five years now. Although this past riding season, between our work, family, and other commitments, we didn't get a chance to do our annual ride.... Even in this picture, only the three of us - out of a group of eight - were able to arrange our hectic holiday schedules for a quickie! Hopefully we will have more riding time together in 2016!! 

That being said, Christmas did come a little early for me this year.... Chad, our Service Manager, and Dennis, in our Parts Department got me new cylinders, pistons and jugs for my bike!!! Woohoo!!!
All in all, 2015 is shaping up to have been a pretty good year.... And with the party tonight, I'm betting we're going to end up having a great time. Thankfully I have a good camera in my phone - all the better to take more pictures with so I can 'remember' it all the next morning!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Ho Ho Ho - and all that Merry stuff

Harley Christmas Tree Ornaments through the years

Last Friday at FXCHD the staff had our Secret Santa exchange. It’s always interesting when we get the whole crew together, even for just a couple of hours – we tend to take sarcasm, practical jokes and quick come-backs to a new level. (If you're quick witted, can laugh at your self, don't mind a work place environment that takes sexual innuendos to unprecedented heights - then we may want you to work here come Spring Time!)

Dan, our General Manager, playing Santa 
It all started about a month ago when we decided to do a Secret Santa gift exchange in the first place. Last year we did our gift exchange “White Elephant” style – where you can either grab a gift from under the tree or steal a gift from someone else. But for some reason no one stole any gifts so this year we decided to draw names. I was in charge and I can tell you it was tempting to make sure that a certain Cowboys fan got matched up with one of our mechanics….. but I was a good girl this year! So we decided on a $20 cap and I went around to everyone for them to draw names.

"Oh - YOU were my Secret Santa??!!"
Fast forward and the moment of truth. No worries that no one would forget (since I went around reminding everyone). All gifts were present (see what I did there?) – but for some recipients it wasn’t so easy to get them open. When you have co-workers with access to adhesives, duct & electrical tape, and vice grips, there’s a chance the gifts they’re giving are going to be wrapped to the hilt.  Of course alcoholic gifts were given and well received, along with lottery tickets, sharp things, and – what else? – tools.

The next day Santa even took time out of his busy schedule to visit the dealership. (We tried to get Biker Claus but he’s way too busy since there’s a lot of you on the Naughty List.) Santa likes to party and have a good time as well, so we had some fun – see the pictures.

This Saturday is the BIG company Christmas party. FXCHD is just one out of ten dealerships owned by F.X. Caprara Car Companies – soon to be eleven with the Honda car dealership opening in 2016. And each year Billy and Charlie give back to their employees by throwing us a whooper of a party – dinner, drinks and a room. It’s a chance for us to dress up, let our hair down and really live it up. And it's always interesting to see a bunch of Harley folks 'dress up' and hang out with a bunch of car salesmen (but they're all good guys - we do mingle well)!! So keep checking our Facebook page for pictures of the BIG party in the coming week!
Chad and Santa discussing the true meaning of __________ (you fill in the blank!)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Here's to living a life Cage Free

This is my second favorite time of year at FXCHD (my first being the riding
Cage Free? You mean like Free Range Chickens??
season of course!) and it’s not because of the Christmas lights or the holiday parties. It does have something to do with the whole gift giving scene. But mainly because this time of year we get a lot of ‘non-bikers’ buying gifts for their family and friends who are Harley Enthusiasts; and that gives me a chance to show the general public a little slice of the biker lifestyle.

For instance, a few days ago we had an older couple who wanted to buy a H-D GiftCard for their grandson – now in the Air Force stationed in North Carolina. I was showing them the choices they had for the gift card holder, and one of the choices exclaimed, “Here’s to living a life Cage Free.” So the grand-mother looks at me sort of puzzled, “You mean like Free Range Chickens?” After I laughed for a bit I explained what that meant, and I’ll explain for you too:
  • Cage Free: Bikes refer to cars & trucks as ‘cages’ – since you’re pretty much in one, a roll bar cage. You’ve got air bags, a big windshield, and sound proofing which all make for a nice, quiet ride, but also removes you to from the environment. When you’re riding along in a car, you’re more insulated than a rider is on their
    Not this kind of cage either....
    motorcycle. Cage Free means you’re out on your motorcycle.
  • ‘Cage-er’: What we call a person driving a car/truck.
  • Brain Bucket: Helmet
  • MSF: Motorcycle Safety Foundation – an organization that helps to educate motorcycle riders.
  • OEM: Original (Factory) Equipment Parts – stock parts on your motorcycle.
  • Scoot/Scooter: A term that includes any motorcycle.
  • Skid Lid: Usually referring to a non-DOT helmet – one that just has a shell and little padding on the inside.
  • Tar Snake: The shiny material used to patch cracks in the asphalt. They have less traction than regular asphalt, especially in light rain or on hot days (the material has a lower melting point and will get soft or even melt).
Those are some of the most common terms you’ll hear if you’re around bikers long enough. For a more concise list, check out this list of websites: Google Search: Results for "Common Biker Terms"

Until next time, Keep the Chrome Side Up & the Rubber Side Down!!
"You - in the mini-van - how long you in for??"

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Doin' the Holidays Harley Style

Our Northern New York Harley Owners Group (NNY H.O.G. for short) had their annual Christmas party this last Saturday - and it was a hoot like always!

In case you didn't know, the Harley Owners Group is the largest factory-sponsored riding club in the world with over a million members. It began shortly after Willie G. Davidson and a few others bought Harley-Davidson back from AMF. The management team organized a series of rides across the country as a way to get out on the road, reconnect with customers, and have fun. Shortly after that "H.O.G." was born.

Anyone can be a member of H.O.G. - as long as they have a Harley that is. Membership begins at the national level and all you need is your bike's VIN number to get started. With wide-ranging benefits that help you see the world, stay connected, get the inside scoop, and protect your ride, you'll never ride alone.
L to R: Dave, Theo, Kim & Joy, Aug. 2014

Once you're a National H.O.G. Member you're eligible to join a local chapter if you wish. You can find your local H.O.G. Chapter by visiting your Harley-Davidson dealership (or any dealership whose chapter you wish to join - we have a few members that live close to another dealership but they prefer ours - you can join/ride where ever you please!). And often there are even more perks at the local level. The time FXCHD had Kim Coates - Tig - and Theo Rossi - Juice - from the TV show Sons of Anarchy visit and sign autographs, our NNY H.O.G. Chapter helped out and so got a private meet & greet with the boys.
Chris & Me

H.O.G. is not a traditional motorcycle club - there is no bottom rocker claiming territory nor is there an initiation process in order to join. We are simply a good group of people who like to ride and have fun - which coincidentally is the H.O.G. motto. If you're new to riding and are looking for more people who share a taste for adventure, rebellion, attitude, and freedom, then I suggest 'test riding' your local H.O.G. Chapter.

So anyways, back to what's important - the party!! Chris was my date this year - she's a FXCHD customer who rides her own and over the years has become a good friend. We drove together to the Eis House restaurant for the party which was dinner and the great Card Game Gift Exchange game. Each person brings at least 1 gift, FXCHD donates 5 gifts, and the chapter buys lots of gifts as well - all under
the tree. Then we shuffle and pass out cards, using four decks. When one of the cards you're holding is called, you go up and get a gift from under the tree - don't unwrap it yet!! Since there are more cards than gifts, we run out of gifts - but that's where the fun
Jasmine helping Papa
begins!! Once we're out of gifts, then you can steal gifts from other party goers. There's usually 3 or 4 gifts that are real popular - but no one knows what's inside yet. When there are no cards left, then we open and see what we got. This year John was not above having his daughter deter would be 'gift stealers' - he had her sit on the gift he wanted to keep (but it didn't work!!). 
One year the most popular 'stolen' gift ended up being a toilet bowl plunger!! When it's all said and done, everyone ends up with at least one gift. But as it always is with our H.O.G. Chapter - it's not about what you got, it's about the fun you had while with good friends.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

What you need to know about Dealer T-Shirts

Mike showing me RK Stratman's 2016 1st Qtr dealer tees
We had Mike stop in at FX Caprara Harley-Davidson this past week. He’s a dealer representative for RK Stratman – one of three companies licensed by Harley to make the dealer t-shirts. You know the ones I’m talking about – I know you’ve seen them before.  They have a Harley design on the front and the name & city, state of the dealership on the back – some guy Frank & Mike are picking (on American Pickers) is wearing one; or the last time you went to dinner at Texas Roadhouse you noticed one. I thought you might find it interesting to learn a little more about the ‘Dealer Tee’ ordering process (hopefully I’m right!).

First off – yes, Harley-Davidson dealerships sell more than just motorcycles!! There are leather & nylon jackets, boots, gloves, helmets, casual wear, barware, pet accessories, toys and (on and on) that have H-D logos. Each dealership is independently owned, so Harley leaves it up to each dealership as to what they want to sell in their shop. About half of the inventory comes directly from Harley-Davidson. The other half comes from companies that Harley has licensed to use their logos on merchandise. They'll have this label:

Back to the dealer tees: “What’s the big deal??” you may be asking. Allow me to explain – quite a few bikers collect them as a way to show off where they’ve been. Some guys have rules about collecting tees, like they’ll only get a dealer tee if they’ve ridden to that dealership. Others enjoy ‘showing off’ their home town dealership. And still others only have pocket tees, or ‘Bar & Shield’ tees, or just pin-up girls tees. I have dealer tees from Boston, Atlanta, San Jose, and even Dublin, Ireland - every H-D dealership I go to I get a dealer tee and shot glass. Everyone is a bit different, just as there are many different dealer t-shirts designs.

LtoR: RK, VF Imagewear & Bravado catalogs
And each of the three companies that make dealer tees – Bravado, RK Stratman & VF Imagewear – have new designs available every three months that dealers get to choose from. Artists come up with designs based on a variety of input – both from dealers and customers. Then each design is sent up to be approved by Harley, and after that the manufacturer chooses what color shirts to use for a particular design.

As for the back design – the one that shows off the dealership name and location – there are lots of stock back designs to choose from between the three companies. But the real fun begins when the dealership has a custom back designed just for them. This custom back usually has something specific to that dealer’s area in their back design – the Golden Gate Bridge for Dudley Perkins Company Harley-Davidson in San Francisco, the city skyline for Atlanta Harley-Davidson, or the Empire State Building for Empire Harley-Davidson. Last year I had an idea for a new dealer t-shirt back: I wanted to show off the fact that FX Caprara is located close to the Seaway Trail and Lake Ontario, so I scoured the internet for images. Below you can see the two pictures I submitted to the artists, and the work they came up with. Once we approve the artwork, it is then submitted to Harley-Davidson Motor Company - they must approve the design before it can used.

So there you have it: a little slice of Harley life summed up in t-shirts from dealers across the country and the world. The next time you see a Harley-Davidson Dealer T-Shirt, please do me a favor for me: make a mental note and look to see where that shirt is from. Is it from a dealer close by, the next state over, or even from another country? Then leave me a comment here, on this blog, or on our Facebook or Twitter page – say where you were at (city & state) and where the dealer tee was from. You may find yourself a bit surprised at how many you’ll see once you start looking!!
Top Left: Googled pic of "Motorcycle on Seaway Trail" Top Right: Seaway Trail Sign
Bottom: What the artists came up with - now FXCHD's  newest custom back design