February 19th, 2016
BY ALISA CLICKENGER ON FEB 23, 2015
Motorcycle & Powersports News
One part motorcycle dealership, one part vintage motorcycle museum and one part online/mail order new, classic, vintage and used motorcycle parts store, Bob’s BMW located in Jessup, Maryland, adds up to a 100 percent successful dealership.
Store owner Bob Henig started out modestly by selling used BMW motorcycle parts from his garage in 1981 (the days before e-anything). Now Bob’s BMW is one of the largest, most respected BMW dealerships in North America with nearly $10 million in annual sales.
Bob’s BMW has won numerous awards for overall excellence, merchandising, customer satisfaction and community service. The dealership’s recipe for success is Bob’s careful combination of sales and service of new and used BMW motorcycles, complete refurbishing and restorations on any year BMW built since 1950, great service and a passion for the BMW brand that Henig has parlayed into a world-class collection of BMW motorcycles and paraphernalia.
Henig may do several things within his dealership that are out of the ordinary, such as operating a thriving mail order business at his location and assigning every customer a singular mechanic with whom he builds a one-on-one relationship, yet each is incredibly well thought out – and successful. Henig treats the trade-in process like science and has developed a winning formula to maximize profits and create a win-win situation for his customers.
Henig has come up with a proprietary formula that he’s shared with other dealers in his 20-Group, and with 15 percent of the dealership’s revenue derived from the sale of used bikes, people listen. Other outside-the-box thinking includes Henig’s directive that every department in the dealership be fiscally responsible, ensuring that each department is in the black and not relying on another department’s success to carry them.
Not Everything is About the Bottom Line
“I’ve always believed that dealerships should be fun. They should be a good place to get information,” says Henig. The dealership’s coffee area walls are covered with interesting and up-to-date motorcycling articles from newspapers and industry magazines. The same is true in the men’s room. There is a waiting lounge in the service department, which Henig has declared as a “no sell zone.” It is purely for customers to relax in and take some down time while their bike is being serviced. “You cannot be selling to the customer all the time,” says Henig.
Bob’s BMW escapes the seasonal “hire and fire” cycle by focusing on the service department’s winter work business, incentives on PG&A sales and tightening their belts a bit. They’ve developed programs like the Polar Bear Challenge, which encourages customers to put on the miles even in the chilly season. They also encourage and assist customers with restorations and rebuilds during the winter months.
“I don’t think you can have long-term customers without long-term employees, and you cannot have long-term employees without taking care of them,” says Henig. “We work really, really hard finding ways to level out this business in the months that are traditionally slow.”
The proof is in the people: Lex O’Brien, Bob’s BMW e-commerce content manager, has been with the dealership for 25 years. Every employee gets full health benefits, 100 percent company paid.
Service While You Wait
Rain, shine or snow, every Saturday Bob’s BMW offers “while you wait” repair service. Customers line up on a first-come, first-serve basis, some so eager that they line up two hours before the dealership opens. Seeing this kind of customer enthusiasm led to the dealership setting up a coffee service table outside the night before. When the first customers arrive all they have to do is press the power button for their morning cup of joe. Morning entertainment comes in the form of other customers in line until the shop opens for business. In warmer weather there’s even a self-service bike wash station complete with an amusing vintage illustration.
For efficiency’s sake, the dealership also puts out service cards that customers fill out while waiting their turn. On these cards customers record billing details, motorcycle information and what type of service is required. Customers that arrive on Saturdays with more intense service needs are sometimes asked to wait until the “quickies” are served. Handled well and with clear communication, this has never been a problem for the dealership. Their service department is then closed on Sunday and Monday, which the dealership has found actually improves efficiency and customer communication.
Vintage BMW Museum
Bob’s officially opened as a BMW motorcycle dealership in 1990 and they’ve always had BMW items on display. Henig is an avid collector of BMW motorcycles, memorabilia and wall art. Out of more than 75 motorcycles in the public collection, only three have any type of modification or minor restoration. Because of Bob’s penchant for unrestored, original motorcycles, many of his display motorcycles serve as benchmarks for customers doing their own restorations.
“We offer the museum up as a tool for our customers. Everybody’s idea of what a restoration is will be different. These [vintage]motorcycles we have on display serve as a benchmark for how the machines were when they came off the assembly line,” says Henig. There are currently around 75 bikes and 5 sidecars on display between what’s on the dealership floor and their space across the street, including an original, unrestored 1925 R32, which was BMW’s first production model.
Dealership as a Destination
In addition to the BMW motorcycle and memorabilia museum, Bob’s goes out of its way to cultivate cross-customer relationships. They’ve worked hard to make the dealership a place where BMW enthusiasts can go to get information, and they enjoy bringing their customers together. “We want people to feel as at home as they do at a Starbucks,” says Henig. “We go through a lot of coffee around here.”
Bob’s hosts a variety of evening programs such as tech sessions, informational seminars and presentations from world travelers. The dealership maintains a Facebook page that connects riders with local rides. It also hosts hospitality days at track days as well as CCS and ASRA Motorcycle Races. The dealership has partnered with the Howard County Arts Council for a “Ride the Road to Art” program that got a larger number of customers riding and exploring real art installations within their local community.
In the fall, the dealership puts on an open house and annual swap meet. Closest to Henig’s heart is the annual Baltimore/Washington Ride for Kids. Bob’s BMW has been helping the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation raise money for over 20 years now, Henig himself bringing a high performance sidecar rig and providing rides to some of these special kids.
“A lot of what we’ve done here has been shaped by the needs and wants of our customers,” says Henig, who now wants to build a retail complex of associated and complementary businesses that are not all owned by the dealership. Sounds like Bob’s BMW might just dominate the retail scene in the Washington, DC metro area, which would be no small feat. Then again, that might not be such a bad thing coming from a company whose owner gets teary-eyed when he talks about his practiced ability to keep a wig on a small child while helping them don and doff a motorcycle helmet.
Bob’s BMW 10720 Guilford Road Jessup, MD (301) 497-8949
Accessories: Rizoma, Ikon, Rev’It!, Klim, Shoei, Akrapovic
August 18th, 2015
Watkins Glen, NY | September 4-7, 2015
Bob will be repeating his successful and very enjoyable Ride-2-Brunch-2-Do-Good event at the Finger Lakes BMW Rally over the Labor Day weekend again this fall. The ride and brunch is small, intimate and tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance.
Last year there were 15 participants for the inaugural event and is limited to just 17 so it is first RSVP, first paid and first to have fun and do good. The cost remains at $100 per person and this excellent brunch at one of the highest rated dining establishments in the entire Finger Lakes Region includes the participants choice of 1 appetizer, a salad, a seasonal entrée, dessert, coffee, any non-alcoholic beverages and if they wish one glass of wine, beer or champagne.
The event begins with a very enjoyable and spirited 75 minute (+-) ride starting at 9:30 AM sharp that uses beautiful secondary roads between the Rally location at Watkins Glen State Park and the Stonecat Café in the little town of Hector, New York. There is live Jazz music playing while we dine, converse and otherwise enjoy ourselves.
All net proceeds from this FUNdraiser are donated to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation® through their annual Ride for Kids® event which Bob participates in and escorts one of the Star kids in his sidecar. That event will be held on Sunday, September 27 in Ellicott City, Maryland should you be interested in joining us there too.
Additional donations can also be handed to Bob but outright contributions are always welcome. If you can’t join Bob please go to the link below and support the great work the PBTF® does. The PBTF® is a federally registered 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization. Bob and Bob’s BMW are fast approaching the $30,000 target for FUNdraising by 9-26-15 but we are not there yet; you could be the one to make that happen.
The full disclosure: Bob is a longtime supporter, fundraiser, past RFK® event leader and currently serves as a member of the PBTF BOD. He’s thankful that neither his immediate or extended family or any of his fantastic staff and their families have a child affected by this terrible disease.
To join the fun and fundraising event email or call Bob at the details below his signature or stop by the dealership with your check or credit card; any of the staff can accept payment and a positive RSVP if he’s not there.
March 21st, 2015
By: Bob Henig
Forget all the technical stuff. None of us have even a gram of input on this anyway.
Doesn’t anyone see the sheer beauty of the overall design concept here? BMW could build exactly what we are looking at here if they desired. They have the technical expertise and BMW dealers are in desperate need of a fresh cruiser offering.
BMW exited, mistakenly in my not so humble opinion (IMNSHO), a segment of the motorcycle market that occupies roughly a 40% share when the R1200C was cancelled. I was asked to present a written argument to the then head of BMW motorcycles worldwide (financial and otherwise) as to why the R1200C should go back into production and what specific changes I would suggest regarding price, standard equipment and options.
This was roughly 6 years back and I delivered it as requested. But the tooling had already been destroyed. Another mistake? Perhaps. But without existing tooling production was too costly to bring it back. That overall decision cost BMW and their dealers thousands and thousands of unit sales and countless loyal cruiser riders.
As for this exciting new W3 concept from BMW Motorrad — I say bring it on and bring it on and bring it on soon; I’ll take a black one with a black seat please.
September 15th, 2014
-September 15 posted by Ride for Kids®
Beautiful skies and warm air accompanied more than 200 participants at the 23rd Baltimore-Washington Ride for Kids on Sept. 14. The event had raised $113,105 for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation by ride time.
The event’s Stars were the seven local brain tumor survivors who led the ride from Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City: Gabriel, Maggie, Nick, Olivia, Paige, Ruxy and Yosef.
“Because of you all, we are finding inspiration which is leading to progress and hope,” Dr. Chetan Bettegowda of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine told the crowd. “There used to be dozens, now we have hundreds and thousands of people around the world working on research for pediatric brain tumors.”
As of Sept. 14, the individual, motorcycle club/chapter and motorcycle business with the most raised were Bob Henig ($22,775), GWRRA MD-B ($14,161) and Bob’s BMW ($33,568). The top non-motorcycle group was Team Gabriel ($6,790).
The event is still collecting donations online at www.rideforkids.org. Fundraisers will receive incentive credit through Oct. 14.
Joel Gladding won the drawing for a new Honda motorcycle, and a Cardo Scala Rider TeamSet went to Jimmy Tragle. Bruce Hill won a Tour Master gift card.
Thank you to the dedicated volunteers who organized the event. This year’s task force leaders were Tom Chicca and Marcy Rich.
August 23rd, 2014
Visitors, customers and friends,It is now less than a month until the Baltimore-Washington Ride for Kids® event here in Howard County, Maryland. I would hope that most everyone reading our newsletter knows at least something about the Ride for Kids®, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation(PBTF) and our involvement with this fine organization.
Bob’s and I have been personally involved for over 20 years now. Bob’s has done substantial levels of FUNdraising with events like auctions, Galas and even two Ultimate Bike raffles (UBR1 & UBR2) and hundreds if not thousands of personal solicitations on my part and that of our staff. We’ve had customers donate motorcycles so we could fix them up, sell them and raise money through these efforts. Those donations generate a tax letter for that generous individual. We have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years and our grand total is much closer to the 1 million dollar mark than one half these days.
The need is great, the cause is good and the organization stands well above most other non-profits in the entire world in terms of how they manage the money and how little of what comes in is used for fundraising, management, salaries or general overhead.
I have been honored to serve on the PBTF Board of Directors for the last 6 or so years. I also serve on the local Task Force that hosts the event, one of 38 around the country this year. Thankfully none of my friends or neighbors, current or past employees or our own son are afflicted with this terrible disease.
So here’s the personal request: Please join me. Please ask a friend to join me as well. You’ll be part of a fine group of caring motorcyclists, riding all brands of motorcycles on September 14th for this event. If you’ve never been before you will be impressed and you will leave touched.
Sure I know that many of you will be busy or have another reason you cannot attend. That’s normal. So the next request I would make is to ask if you’d care to make a donation, right here, right now. Cash, check or credit card works.
For those who frequent the dealership, small donations can be placed in the containers by coffee or at the Service Reception desk. Larger amounts can be rung up on a credit card at the front counter with or without another purchase or even added to a Repair Order with part number RFK . We are happy to accept personal and business checks. In 2013 we accepted 63 individual donations this way in varying amounts from $100 to $2,500. September is usually the big month for in store and online donations.
My goal is to deliver at least $20,000 of my customer’s money to this year’s event, all of which helps fund research that will help find better treatments and a cure. So please help us make September the biggest month this year. We are honored to accept and deliver your generous donations.
If you desire to write a check or tender a credit card for $100 or more please let my staff know to inform me so I can thank you personally. Just earlier this week I was handed one for $500 from a long time customer who has watched what we have done over the years and has participated in the ride a few times as well.
I know that my business sells expensive toys so I also know that many of my customers have money available to support worthy causes. And I also know that the PBTF and RFK are not the only good causes out there asking for your money but this is truly one of the most worthy causes affecting children. They are rated one of the very best by Charity Watch and Charity Navigator every single year.
The lesson I have learned well over the years is that most people don’t give because no one has asked them to so I’m asking you to consider giving to this excellent organization. It will always be an honor to deliver your money if you cannot join us at this great event but the 50 mile police escorted back roads ride is very scenic, highly enjoyable and just one of the reasons you should consider attending. And if you do I hope you’ll let them know, when they ask you, if you wish to give your donation or fundraising efforts credit to your local motorcycle dealership, you’ll say yes and then tell them it is Bob’s BMW. You’ll also get personal recognition.
I would be pleased to sit and talk about any of this over coffee at any time; in person or on the phone.
A generous donation of any size can be securely made ONLINE TODAY!
Owner, Rider, Enthusiast
August 21st, 2014
Bob’s BMW is an avid supporter of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and has taken special pride for over twenty years to help raise awareness of this cause. Bob personally has participated in the Ride For Kids® each year, been a VIP escort in the ride, and for the past six years has been a board member. Throughout the year he takes every chance gets to bring attention to the cause and raise money whenever possible.
This year’s motorcycle ride will depart and end at Turf Valley located at 700 Turf Valley Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21042 which is convenient to Interstate 70 and US Routes 40 and 29. Complete details on the ride are available online.
If for any reason you know you can’t attend but still want to be involved please go to Ride for Kids® and make an online donation crediting Bob Henig or another participant in the event you may know. Every dollar counts and it all helps to fund the research that has already led to great new treatments and will one day find a cure.
Hope to see you there!
P.S. Anyone who has been a VIP escort in the past and wants to do so again, please email Bob@bobsbmw.com directly.
Send your friends a video reminder of the upcoming Baltimore/Washington ride.
July 31st, 2014
By Janene Holzberg, For The Baltimore Sun
“This will be the second-most-memorable trip I’ve taken,” Bailey said from the porch of the rancher she’s called home for nearly 45 years as the adventure got underway July 18. “The first was a ride on the Concorde from London to Dulles [International Airport] in 1988.”
Henig told his passenger that the excursion on scenic back roads to visit her close friends in Sykesville just might top her pricey flight on the now-retired supersonic transport that traveled at more than twice the speed of sound.
“I’m hoping by the time I bring you back, it’ll be close as to which trip was more fun,” the Columbia resident told her, quickly adding that they’d only be traveling at 45 mph or so.
Henig practically had to take a number and get in line to see who would be the first to escort Bailey. She said a TV reporter and motorcycle enthusiast she met when she served on a judicial nominating commission years ago was the first to egg her on.“It all started with Dick Gelfman,” Bailey said of the retired WJZ newsman, who is known for organizing Ride Across Maryland, a fundraiser for breast cancer research. Bailey remains in contact with him and his wife, Lenore Gelfman, a Howard County Circuit Court judge.
Henig began encouraging Bailey to take a ride in his sidecar seven or eight years ago after “we kept showing up at the same places,” she said. Bailey has been a member of the Howard County Police Advisory Council since it was formed in 1992 by then-Police Chief James Robey, who appointed her. Henig is on the board of the county police foundation, so their paths often cross.
Robey, an Elkridge Democrat who retired in 2014 as a state senator and previously served two terms as Howard County executive, said he wasn’t surprised to learn of the unusual trip but wondered with a laugh “why Millie wasn’t the driver.” “She’s so active, and she knows everybody. This is why she has stayed alive as long as she has,” he said, noting that she still drives a car. “She’s one gutsy lady.”
Bailey, who claims to know “two-thirds of the people in Columbia,” attributes her longevity to a busy schedule, a healthy diet and not worrying about things she can’t control. A former manager for the Social Security Administration and a widow with no children, she has served on numerous boards of county nonprofits and organizations over the years.
Running Brook Elementary School students call her their “Guardian Angel” for her fundraising efforts there, and she runs a group that sends homemade cookies to American troops overseas. “This is going to be a surprise for my adopted grandkids,” Bailey said before the pair set off. “They know I’m coming, but they don’t know how.” Henig assured his passenger that she was in for “a spaceship-smooth kind of ride” in his $75,000 Duetto, of which there are only 31 in the world. The manufacturer had hoped to build 100, but BMW stopped making the K1100 motorcycle that tows the rig, he said. He owns five other sidecars and 70 motorcycles, including a motorized unicycle.
As Henig flicked an electric switch to lift the sidecar’s hood and helped make Bailey comfortable, longtime neighbor Barbara Bryan happened to walk up the street with granddaughter Leah Williams. “I’m so glad I got to see this,” said the retired nurse, who’s known Bailey for 42 years. “Nothing gets by Millie. Her mind is so fast. This is amazing for her.”
When the pair arrived 50 minutes later at the home of Julie and Ken Girardini, the couple said they were caught off-guard by the sight of their friend, whom they assumed would be arriving in her Ford Focus. “It was quite a shock, definitely, but she was having a ball and was all smiles,” Julie Girardini said. “Millie is always willing to try something new.”
Bailey said afterward that the ride was “just wonderful.”
She’s tried other unusual conveyances, she said, like the time she unhappily rode a camel in Morocco. She did enjoy riding an elephant in Thailand, though. Henig said Bailey was “the perfect passenger,” riding with her face shield up and a contented expression that “put a smile on my face all day.” So is Bailey done with adventurous modes of transportation? “Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” she said. “Something exciting might come along, so I can’t rule anything out.”
Click HERE for more photographs and a video of the ride.
June 13th, 2014
January 22nd, 2014
After 30 plus years of participating as a vendor at the MOA International Rally,Bob’s BMW knows it is necessary to annually change up your display to keep it new and fresh so the rally continues to be fun and exciting for all those attending! So for Bob’s 2014 MOA rally display we’ve decided we want to include as many of our customers and their bikes as we can! If you are planning to attend this year’s rally July 24-27, “Rolling By The River” in St. Paul, Minnesota, and your bike was modified, customized, refurbished, or restored (partly or completely) at Bob’s or it was ‘thanks’ to Bob’s great inventory of parts and accessories that your bike is what it is today please contact us as soon as possible to join in on the fun we are planning.
The plan is to rotate the display of bikes at Bob’s booth multiple times each day so that we are not holding any one bike hostage too long—we want you to enjoy the rally to its fullest and we know that includes having your bike available to go out and enjoy some great riding! If you would like to feel like a celebrity at the rally, simply provide email@example.com with 2 good pictures of your bike (right and left), details of the work Bob’s has helped you with, your contact information including full name, phone number, email, and address, along with a short blurb on why your bike should be showcased in our display at this year’s MOA rally!