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Say hello again to Tuesday through Saturday hours

Back in the early 1970s you could walk into a motorcycle shop pretty much any day of the week, and at least Saturday if not Sunday as well. And to some extent that is the case today here in the Pacific Northwest, but times are changing again.

Former University Honda/Yamaha (shop RIP) owner, Pete Wicken, is said to have been the first dealer in the Pacific Northwest to institute "Open Tuesday through Saturday - closed Sunday and Monday" hours sometime in the late 1970s. And it didn't take long for many other local shops to follow suit.

So what is the value of being closed Sunday and Monday?

Payroll for one. Being routinely closed on Monday means there's no holiday pay to be paid on days like Memorial Day, Labor Day and other holidays that fall on Monday. Doesn't sound like much of a savings, but over 10 years, it's quite a savings. And Pete was a number crunching, pencil pushing scholar right up to his last day at work.

Sunday is Fun Day. Since many employees at motorcycle shops also enjoy riding and in some cases racing, having Sunday off allows employees to get out for a ride with family and friends, and/or visit the track and even compete if that's the plan.

Having a Monday off, when everyone else is away at school and work, seriously provides the peace anyone needs to take care of things around the house, or enjoy the day off.

Traveling out on Saturday night for an overnight trip and returning on Monday mid-day is typically easier travel-wise that heading out Friday night in rush hour and coming home in the I-5, US2 or otherwise end-of-weekend slog that comes on strong every Sunday afternoon.

Fast-forward to the early 2000s. Kaboom - two things happened. One - the motorsports industry experienced a serious surge in sales not felt since the early 1970s. Secondly - conglomerate buying came into play as family-owned dealers gave way to multi-franchise owners and the banks. To take full advantage of sales and improve the bottom line, many dealers moved to being open 7 days a week. And it worked well for most all the way into the recession.

But since the recession, sales have drastically dropped, as well as the number of dealers standing. In the Pacific Northwest, the Great Recession washed away about 25% of the shops we had. For a while there were some great deals as dealers absorbed stock from out-of-business locations at rock bottom prices, passing their savings on to the customer, who needed to save money.

But as inventories have balanced out, prices are coming back up and we have the industry you see today.

So it was no surprise, when a local dealer who had been running seven days a week since the early 2000s announced their new 'summer hours' which included being closed Sunday and Monday. No doubt there will be more to follow.

Bud Myers of Seattle Cycle Center notes "Being closed Sunday and Monday relieves me from having to create a different schedule each week for staff, and they get to work together every day instead. That's great for in-store communication among the staff which means we'll be able to offer better customer service."

Perhaps we've come full circle, but there's some sort of solace in knowing that more motorsports employees will be able to enjoy those Sundays and Mondays off, take rides with less congestion and get out to the track now and then.

The question begs to be asked - How will the return to 5 days a week effect you as a customer?

TM/June 15


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