A MOTO CONVERT JUMPS IN
Tom Hicks has been a motorcycle guy for more than half a century. He was riding before he was drafted into the Air Force during the Vietnam War. When he returned, he started working for American Honda. After Honda, he was the western U.S. rep for Triumph when they came into the U.S.
He’s a humble man, telling us he only has a high school education. Educated or not, he’s a smart man and seemingly has the Midas touch when it comes to business—mostly. He started his own dart shop—yes, the pointy-tipped things you throw at a target. That business was booming, and then he opened an archery shop. That shop, too, was going well until he went through a divorce, after which he ended up losing the business.
With the sale of one of his houses, he had $65,000 in cash, so in 2000 he opened a Triumph dealership. He could only stock six bikes at the time, because that was all he could afford. His shop had three employees. The store did so well that within a year his dealership was the number-one Triumph dealer in the country.
Tom wanted to expand. He couldn’t afford to buy the complex where his dealership was, but after another business moved out, he leased the space and opened up a new franchise. He started with Ducati, then added other brands as spaces became available. They have since added Suzuki and Royal Enfield, and each has its own dedicated space and is treated as a separate business. From those early days with just three employees, Tom now has a staff of 26 people working for him.
For Tom, the advantages of the separate shops are many, as they allow a customer to shop just for their own desired brand within a dedicated space. If someone comes in looking for a Suzuki, they wouldn’t have to trip over Triumphs and Ducatis to get to them. It also offers a chance to make sure each branded store is turning a profit and supporting itself. All of this is under the Southern California Motorcycles umbrella. It is also like a car mall, so if a customer is brand-agnostic, they can check out all the different brands in one place.
Five years ago Tom had a heart attack. He needed some rehab and…