To The Daily Sun,
We are writing in response to a recent article concerning Motorcycle Week here in the Lakes Region. We strongly disagree with the owners of Laconia Harley-Davidson concerning lack of attendance and poor advertising benefits from the Rally News. How does she (Anne Deli) measure the success of her advertising in the Rally News? Has she offered coupons or done other advertising to track this?
When we travel, we like to know if there is a Harley dealer in the area. We have visited many across the country. The Rally News is a good way for enthusiasts to consider to visit our area, whether during the rally or at a later time.
We feel that this year was the best turnout for our business in the last 11 years — since we purchased our store and restaurant. We are happy to belong to the rally as patrons and find that it is cost effective to do so. Advertising costs are always too high, but this has been very affordable for us. We have had an increase in business with riders during the rally as well as all summer long. We are confident that the rally patronage is responsible for this.
It is unfair to measure attendance with Sturgis as it was a 75th anniversary rally. Some motorcyclists can only afford to attend one or two rallies a year as the cost of travel has risen.
Laconia has probably lost some of its attendance as, quite honestly it's always the same old thing each year. The vendors do not keep their tents open into the evening when riders and local folks are able to visit and purchase. There is a lot of talk amongst our clientele that the businesses in the area have been "gouging" during that time frame and they are tired of paying extra fees because of this. The riders also want to ride during the day. Fortunate for us here in the Newfound Lake area, we are always at maximum capacity before, during and after rally week. We do not charge higher rates during this time period and a lot of us offer many discounts to draw the riders in.
Charlie St.Clair and Jenn Anderson are the backbone of the Motorcycle Week family along with the Makris family. They have allowed our small business to strive with the innovative ideas that they bring to the rally each year. This is a full-time job that they do wholeheartedly all year, not just the few weeks leading up to the rally.
The Motorcycle Week patronage, the Rally News and the Passport program have allowed Newfound Grocery to get riders and enthusiasts to visit our establishment that we have not had in the past. Quite possibly, other local businesses should look to find ways to work together as a unit for the best of the Lakes Region and the Rally and not just for their own benefit.
The feedback that we have gotten this year was largely based on the weather and the beautiful state of New Hampshire has some of the best riding in the country. We should be proud of the state of New Hampshire and join forces to improve our tourism, as it is sadly all that we have left in this area in order to survive.
We must remember what the rally is about. The folks that started this many years ago most probably did not fight about issues and try to have control, rather worked together to put on the good time that it has always been.
We are proud to be part of the Rally Patron family.
Holly Kerouac & Craig Hall
Owners, Newfound Grocery