Jeff Haggerty, General Manager at Harley-Davidson of Michigan City, has been with the company since the grand opening of the Valparaiso store back in 1996. While Haggerty oversees the Michigan City store, he also spends part of his days at the Valparaiso location.
“I’ve always loved motorcycles. I had a cousin growing up who had a Harley, and I always thought it was so cool,” Haggerty said.
While being around the bikes is a huge plus for Haggerty, he says what really drew him into the company and kept him there are the people and the culture that surrounds the brand.
“It’s a fun business. Everything we do at Harley is fun, from the motorcycles to the clothing, and the opportunity to work with and get to know Harley’s customer base. They are so passionate about the brand and that’s contagious,” Haggerty said.
Haggerty worked his way up through the company before being promoted to General Manager. He started in parts, soon became parts manager, spent time working in service, became service manager, and spent time in bike sales. Haggerty also played a big role in helping to get the Kokomo and Michigan City stores up and running.
Though Haggerty has a long history with local Harley-Davidson stores, he decided to take a hiatus back in 2014. Haggerty and his family moved to Denver, Colorado and he managed a dealership there. He sought a change of scenery along with the opportunity to participate in a long list of outdoor activities including downhill skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and more.
Haggerty has been back in the local area for three months and fell right back in the swing of things.
“Valparaiso will always be home to me. I grew up here,” he said.
Although Haggerty took a short hiatus from the area, his team members have some longevity.
“Most of the staff at the Michigan City and Valparaiso stores have been around for a long time. They are extremely knowledgeable and a reliable resource to our customers,” he said. “They [our customers] get to come in and see the same faces, which is important for building trust.”
According to Haggerty, one of the best parts about working for Harley-Davidson is the customers.
“I’ve built many friendships and have met some of my closest friends during my time with Harley. We know most of our customers by name. It’s not that big box store mentality at Harley. You’re a real person and we really value each of our customers and treat them like family.”
“The Harley community has always been really supportive of children and anything dog-related. They’re also very supportive of each other. If there’s a fellow rider in need, they really seem to rally behind them and take care of their own. It’s like a big family,” Haggerty said.
All in all, Haggerty is thankful that he can work for a company he is extremely passionate about. He truly believes in the product and lifestyle that circles the Harley-Davidson brand.
“The selling part is easy when you’re selling something you’re passionate about. I truly believe in Harley-Davidson. I think they’re one of the best motorcycles to be made,” he said. “When I’m riding one, I feel like I’m riding a piece of American history. They’ve been around for so long, and you feel a certain kind of camaraderie when you’re surrounded by other Harley riders.”
The Harley-Davidson bar and shield is one of the most recognized brands in the world, and Haggerty is passionate about continuing to represent the brand in fresh, new ways, like electric motorcycles.
Looking forward, Haggerty would like to own his own dealership, a place where his children, a 19-year-old daughter, and a 12-year-old son, can grow up and work at someday.
“It’s such a great family business, and I would love for my children to learn the type of work ethic that I had while working my way up to manager.”
Haggerty encourages community members to stop into Harley-Davidson to see all they have to offer.
“A lot of people don’t realize that Harley-Davidson offers something for everybody, anything from socks to home decorations. Really, we’re selling a lifestyle,” he said.
During his time as manager, Haggerty has watched as the Harley community continues to grow and welcome new riders into the family.
“The coolest thing I’ve witnessed over the years at Harley-Davidson is watching people transform. On the first day when looking for a bike, they’re a little timid. But after the purchase, they completely change. They’re in it 110%, embracing life and everything the Harley-Davidson community has to offer.”
Stop in and visit the Harley-Davidson staff at both the Michigan City and Valparaiso locations. For more information, visit their websites at https://www.hdmichigancity.com/ and https://www.hdvalpo.com/.
“Valpo and Michigan City are great communities and a Harley-Davidson store is a great asset to them. It all circles back to the comradery feeling, and we really embrace that,” Haggerty said. “Even though the weather gets colder, it’s always 70 and sunny in the Harley-Davidson store. And if you must go outside, stop in for one of our famous leather jackets.”