Now For Some Dealer News

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Wilwert’s, Inc., a Harley-Davidson, Buell, KTM and Suzuki dealership in Dubuque, Iowa, is preparing to close its doors due to foreclosure. A sign on the dealership’s showroom window informed customers of the closing.
The Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department says the building will be made available for public auction on Jan. 15, 2009. A sale notice says the Dubuque-based American Trust and Savings Bank, the Wilwert’s lender, recently was awarded a judgment of $1.6 million. The 53,000 sq. ft. Dubuque location was opened in April 2003.
Owned by Clay and Janelle Wilwert, the dealership is a family-run business, opened by Clay’s parents in September 1960 as a Harley-Davidson retailer. Since then, the store has relocated five times and added KTM and Suzuki brands.
Wilwert’s, Inc. had 40 employees at one time, but is now down to 16 in an effort to cut costs and remain open.
The Dubuque County Assessor’s Office this year valued the building at $2,011,200 and the parcel’s 6.78 acres of land at $335,800. Records show Wilwert was current on his property taxes, last paying $40,315 on Sept. 6. His next payment of the same amount would be due March 2009.
In 1999, Wilwert’s opened a second location 15 miles away from Dubuque in Galena, Ill. The 6,000 sq. ft. Galena store carries only Harley-Davidson and Buell. The Galena store also will close because Harley-Davidson considers it an extension of the main store and Motor Co. by-laws prohibit branch stores from remaining open if the main dealership is closed.
Wilwert’s is only one of multiple long-time H-D dealerships to close in November. Santa Cruz Harley-Davidson owner Mike James closed his dealership earlier this month, ending Harley-Davidson’s 80-year run in the city.
Citing poor motorcycle sales due to a struggling economy, James shut his dealership and museum Nov. 11. The dealership’s satellite shop in Watsonville closed earlier this year.
“The simple answer is we’re a victim of what’s happened to consumer confidence,” James told the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Though other areas of the dealership were doing fine, bike sales at the Santa Cruz dealership had fallen from an average of 50 per month to 15 in October, James said.
In Wisconsin, River Falls Harley-Davidson closed its doors on Nov. 1.

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