Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson is the top Harley-Davidson dealership in the United States as determined by the company’s Bar and Shield Awards.
The corporate recognition evaluates the more than 700 Harley-Davidson dealerships across the country in 12 categories, including customer service, motorcycle sales, service competency and operating margins, to decide the year’s best performing location. This year that was at 1820 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Maryville.
“It’s sort of a comprehensive scorecard,” Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson owner Scott Maddux told The Daily Times on Friday. “Sometimes there’s a tendency to be really good at just one thing, but this really requires you to be a pretty full-service, broad-scope operation.”
First time earning recognition
Maddux, who received the news last week from Harley-Davidson President and CEO Matt Levatich, said that while this is the first time the dealership has received the prestigious distinction, it has come close in previous years.
“We’ve always been real successful,” he said, noting that Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson had the second highest Bar and Shield score in 2009. “But there’s one measure that’s always been a real hindrance to us, and that’s external sales.”
Formerly, the external sales category actually penalized the Maryville dealership for selling outside its territory — a difficult feat, Maddux said, given its close proximity to various high-ranking motorcycle destinations surrounding Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
“We attract so many people from a broad area, and a lot of that has to do with just the geography in which we operate,” he explained. “With roads like “The Dragon” right here in our backyard and Cherohala Skyway and Blue Ridge Parkway, it’s not uncommon for us to see people build entire motorcycle vacations around coming and riding in this area.”
But this year, that measure was eliminated.
“That helped us out tremendously,” Maddux said. “I’ve always felt like this is one of the top stores in the country, but I think it’s really unique to get recognized specifically for something like this because it’s nice for the team.”
In fact, Maddux said the most exciting aspect of receiving the award has been how the Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson staff has worked together to earn the distinction.
“This has been a real rally cry for our team,” he said. “Once we got word back in September that we were in the top six, we started talking collectively in our morning meetings about being No. 1.”
Maddux also started studying the dealership’s performance matrix and projected what could be accomplished over the next several months — “and it seemed very doable,” he said.
“We really put a lot of pressure on ourselves because when it gets right down to it, it doesn’t take much of a stumble to lose a lot of ground,” Maddux said. “But our lead was spreading — every month we were getting a bigger lead once we really started driving hard on it.”
Once the unofficial results were in, Maddux asked Levatich to deliver the message to rest of the Maryville team, making the recognition that much more meaningful, as it personally came from Harley-Davidson’s president and CEO.
Looking ahead, Maddux said he believes that the dealership will “absolutely” receive the distinction again in the future.
“We’re just getting started, and I think we all think that,” he said. “Our mission since we wrote our mission statement 13 years ago has always been to be the best dealership that Harley-Davidson has.”