Experiencing Columbus For The First Time Part 3 – Who Already Knows Columbus is Awesome?
As time passed during my visit to Columbus for the first time, I was experiencing more and more what everyone had been talking about – Columbus really is a great city! That takes me now to talk about those companies we visited in the Columbus area that have been excited to share the AIMExpo presented by Nationwide’s message with their beloved region.
Upon learning of the show’s move to Columbus, local dealers A.D. Farrow Harley-Davidson and Iron Pony Motorsports reached out to the team to begin discussions on the ways they can help build excitement and share the vision among the many passionate enthusiasts within the area. It was recently announced that a formal partnership has been established with both dealerships working alongside the team to integrate and build exposure for the event in the region surrounding Columbus. A co-branded presence at regional events, expanded advertising, marketing and social media campaigns, exclusive access for loyal customers of each dealership, and other initiatives will highlight the strategic partnerships. Part of our trip was dedicated to meeting with the two dealerships. Here was a little about each of our visits.
A.D. Farrow Harley-Davidson: Celebrating its 105th anniversary in 2017, A.D. Farrow is “America’s Oldest Harley Dealer™.” With three locations throughout the area, including one mere minutes from the convention center, this iconic dealership is well represented and serves the Columbus region well. We visited the Shop at Northstar, about 25 mins from downtown, where we got to see just a portion of the incredible historic memorabilia available. Bikes both large and small, and spanning many generations were displayed alongside the latest offerings from the “bar & shield” brand. They were all showcased underneath close to a dozen different Dealernews Top 100 and PowerSports Business Power 50 banners recognizing A.D. Farrow in a number of different categories, including National Dealer of the Year (Top 10 in 2013, 3rd in 2014), Best Dealer to Work For (2015), Best Facility (2008 & 2009), Best Community Involvement (2010, 2012 & 2013), Lifetime Achievements (Don J. Brown, 2013), and more.
Iron Pony Motorsports: Walking into the Iron Pony superstore is like walking into a moto candy store. There is quite literally something for every type of enthusiast inside the 133,000 square foot facility. The family-owned dealership boasts 12 different manufacturer lines so you’re covered with the highest end sport bikes, old and new school cruisers, motocross and off-road bikes, entry-level mini bikes, ATV/SxS, and more. Aisle upon aisle of parts, accessories and apparel ensure everyone leaves happy and with something new to boot. If you’re flying into town and need a bike to rent, Iron Pony runs the EagleRider Columbus location and can have you on the road in no time, enjoying some of the incredible riding throughout the region. And if you’re a new rider, they even offer the Iron Pony Riding Academy to get you safely out on two wheels. Connecting with local riders and enthusiasts is also a big part of the Iron Pony culture and is evidenced by their presence at the many bike nights, rides, and area events they put on and attend.
Our final visit of the trip was to the headquarters of long-time show supporter Vega Helmets. Vega’s warehouse and headquarters are just a short drive from downtown Columbus and needless to say, they’re looking forward to AIMExpo presented by Nationwide in September! The company recently completed a total brand and product line overhaul, providing enthusiasts with a whole new lineup of street and dirt, full and half, adult and youth helmets, and accessories to choose from. Look for Vega and other Columbus-area brands to be displaying prominently on the show floor come September.
Lastly, over the course of the two days driving in and around Columbus it was hard not to notice the number of large office buildings and complexes, many donning the names of iconic brands. Come to find out, Columbus is home to many Fortune 1000 companies such as Nationwide Insurance – AIMExpo’s presenting sponsor, L Brands (Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Pink), Abercrombie & Fitch, DHL, and Abbott Nutrition, amongst others.
Interestingly, in 2016, Forbes named Ohio the 11th-best state for business — and, specifically, first for quality of life and seventh for the economic climate.
In the February 2017 issue of Dossier – a supplement to United Airlines’ Hemispheres inflight magazine – Les Wexner, philanthropist and founder, chairman and CEO of L Brands had this to say about the civic engagement in Columbus,
“None of us can go it alone, nor only two or three institutions getting together. If we all work together, it benefits everyone.”
Wexner’s comment and vantage point offer a glimpse into why the Columbus region continues to thrive and is something all of us within the greater powersports industry should recognize and embrace – the fact that if we all work together for the common good of the industry then we will all be better for it.
As we wrapped up our trip and made our way back to the airport my excitement and enthusiasm about AIMExpo presented by Nationwide’s moving to Columbus was at an all-time high. While it felt like I just scratched the surface, all of my experiences with the people and city of Columbus left no doubt that they will be more than welcoming when all of the great people of our industry roll into town and make CBUS the heart of the powersports industry for a week in September!