RAPID CITY — Hard work pays off.
That's what Terry Rymer, general manager of Black Hills Harley Davidson said when he was recently named a partner in the local company that includes five stores in Wall, Sturgis, Hill City, Deadwood and Rapid City.
Rymer, who has been with the company for 27 years, and who has worked in the motorcycle industry for the last 33 years, said he was very honored when partners Jim Burgess, Al Reiman, Jim Doyle and Clay Trulson took him and his wife out for dinner and surprised him with the news.
“For those of you who frequent the dealership, you know that Terry has been a fixture here for over 25 years,” said Rieman, who is the president of Black Hills Harley-Davidson company. “When the dealership was purchased by the current owners in 2000, it was important to them that Terry stay on and continue to run the dealership. Later it became apparent that his hard work, dedication, and vision had earned him the opportunity to become part of the ownership group.”
As a lifelong biker, Rymer started his career in 1978 at a small motorcycle shop in Aberdeen. As many bikers on that side of the state do, he frequently made trips to the Black Hills to take advantage of the good riding and beautiful scenery. Finally, at the urging of some family members who lived in the Hills, Rymer decided to move to Rapid City on Halloween weekend in 1984.
With his prior experience working with motorcycles, it didn't take long before Rymer found himself working with Bill Gickling, at what was then called Black Hills Yamaha and Harley Davidson. He immediately brought his expertise and experience into the parts department of the store, making $4.50 an hour.
“Back then we maybe had four different T-shirts and they were on the shelf behind the parts counter,” Rymer said. “We didn't have the clothing at all.”
As Rymer said he “grew up with the place,” the motorcycle industry grew along with him. By the late 1980s the motorcycle industry had developed into a giant, with the Harley-Davidson brand as its heart. Suddenly, in order to keep up with customer needs, Rymer found himself marketing and selling general merchandise, clothing lines and accessories, along with the motorcycle and parts sales in the store.
“I grew up adjusting to trying to sell all the clothing and general merchandise,” Rymer said. “I was responsible for all of that. It has just been a learning experience the whole way.”
In addition to learning and growing with the industry, Rymer also feels fortunate to have had experience working with customers who come to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Every year, Rymer is instrumental in turning Black Hills Harley Davidson's Rapid City location into a bikers' retail bonanza that features merchandise, entertainment, and meet and greets with some of the industries most recognized figures. Additionally, the store maximizes its visibility on Lazelle Street in Sturgis during that time.
Because of his experience working with the Rally, Rymer said Harley-Davidson Corp. of Milwaukee has frequently asked him to share his expertise with other dealerships. Specifically, Rymer has helped Harley dealerships in Laconia, N.H., Daytona, Fla., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and other motorcycle event hotspots, to capitalize on the events and more effectively market the business and brand. While he is at those events, Rymer said, he is also rounding up new vendors and entertainment for the next Sturgis Motorcycle Rally at Black Hills Harley Davidson.
“I learn a lot by going to those events and talking,” Rymer said.
Through his many years of working in the motorcycle industry as a whole, Rymer said the mot rewarding part has been working with the customers, and watching as their needs have evolved with changing times.
“I just like the customers,” he said. “I just get to know them as best I can. We've got so many now compared to how it used to be and it's nice to see some of the old faces come in. We're just trying to provide the best experience that we can for the customers, so they think of us the next time they need something and hopefully we can help them out.”
Rieman said adding Rymer to the partnership was definitely the right thing to do.
“The owners, management, employees and customers of Black Hills Harley-Davidson all want to give Terry their hardy congratulations on the success of his career and on becoming a partner in the business,” he said.