Bruce Rossmeyer Killed in Motorcycle Accident

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The news traveled fast on Thursday that Bruce Rossmeyer, the dealer extraordinaire who dreamt upPicture 1and built Destination Daytona, the man behind one of the largest network of Harley-Davidson dealerships and various auto dealerships and other holdings, was killed while riding with a group of friends to the Sturgis Rally.

Immediately after finding out about the accident and while writing an obit for our website I called up Maurice Slaughter, the owner of four H-D stores in Virginia and North Carolina. I know how small this industry is and figured Slaughter could offer some insight into Rossmeyer. Turns out Slaughter knew Rossmeyer from their previous lives in the automotive business. The Virginia dealer had been with Toyota dealer development when Mr. Daytona Beach decided to retire from the auto business in order to sell motorcycles full-time. Well, Rossmeyer was so monumentally good at what he did as a car dealer, Toyota wanted him back in the game, Slaughter told me. Rossmeyer agreed and while he was building the foundation of his H-D empire, he bought back into the Toyota franchise. 

The rest is motorcycle industry history. The growth of Rossmeyer H-D chain across multiple states. The birth of the Daytona Bike Week party along Beach Street. Destination Daytona. The one thing, Slaughter told me, that he always recognized in Rossmeyer was his ability to think not just big, but huge. Gigantic. He was a marketeer like none other with a list of accomplishments as proof. 

Since that conversation I’ve been reading the comments sections of the various news stories about Rossmeyer’s death and this same sentiment has been echoed many times over. Not only was he a business giant, but he had a personality to match. I suppose one could look to his trademark giant billboards featuring his giant, bearded face for evidence of this. And then there’s the charity work, most famously with Camp Boggy Creek, but also with a myriad other helpful organizations. I never had the opportunity to meet Rossmeyer but his reputation preceded him in any reference to him or his string of dealerships. 

I’m a huge fan of outsized and larger-than-life personalities. People who seem as if they have their own gravitational pull, whose mere presence changes the dynamic of their surrounding space. I suppose that’s why I’m drawn to this business as it seems there are quite a few people like this who also happen to be amazingly and refreshingly humble. From what I’ve heard Rossmeyer is all of these things and quite a bit more. One website commentator, in reflecting on the loss, suggests that Rossmeyer’s death will create a massive vacuum that could have a profound impact on the industry. Another referenced his intellect and marketing prowess as a businessman. I’m more than a bit bummed that I never got to meet him.

Godspeed Bruce and my thoughts are with your family.

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2 Responses to “Bruce Rossmeyer Killed in Motorcycle Accident”

  1. wwellons Says:

    Bruce was truly a mover and shaker. Here is an interesting blog:

    http://bikersguidetobusiness.com/bikers-business-blog/ode-to-a-legend/121/

  2. Tim Says:

    I met mr. Rossmeyer this past february at destination daytona, and was forunate enough to ge a picture with him, we chatted alittle while and i thought he was an exceptional person and an all around good guy, when i heard the news i was totally shocked, even though i only met him for fifteen minutes i knew he was a genuine good guy, god bless his family and may mr. rossmeyer rest in piece. always in my prayers

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