Indian Motorcycles: One Man's Quest to Keep the Legend Alive
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Oct. 24, 2003 -- When Indian Motorcycle Corporation unexpectedly closed their factory last month, one man knew he had to act in order to keep the legend alive. If he has his way, Bill Melvin and his partner Jim Grimwade (along with Great American Group) will be the successful bidders to purchase the assets of Indian's Gilroy, California facility. Melvin's dream -- and that of his partners -- is to reopen the factory and continue production of one of the world's oldest and finest motorcycle brands.
Bill Melvin is in powerful company with this group of partners who have joined forces in their commitment and dream to purchase I.M.C.'s assets and restart the Indian motorcycle production line. Melvin has been in continuous negotiations with a team composed of riders with the knowledge, passion and operational experience to bring this dream to fruition. Melvin says, "We've laid the foundation for a dedicated workforce and operations team ready to step in and continue the Indian Motorcycle business into the future."
Who is this man with bold dreams to resurrect the Indian Motorcycle Corporation? Meet Bill Melvin, CEO of National Retail Equipment Liquidators Inc. (N.R.E.L. Inc.): an entrepreneur with 25 years in the liquidation business and a forty-year background rooted in the motorcycle industry. His passion for motorcycles began at age 16 when he became a mechanic and grew into stints in cycle sales, racing and collecting. Melvin achieved financial success as a liquidator, allowing him to realize his lifelong dream of building an extensive personal collection of new and antique motorcycles. His collection includes many beloved antique Indian motorcycles and other rare models, all expertly maintained by Melvin. And they're not just for show -- he rides all his bikes frequently, and has logged hundreds of thousands of miles in the U.S. and Europe.
Since N.R.E.L. Inc. is one of America's leading store fixture liquidators, Bill Melvin appreciates the irony of a liquidator like himself trying to rebuild and renew a company - instead of cleaning out and dispersing its assets. But he's quick to point out that his company has branched out into other services and strategies for the retail industry. N.R.E.L. has added a new Store Fixture distribution division and is a major shopping cart manufacturer.
His admiration and respect for the Indian motorcycle inspires his belief that the legend shouldn't die, but should rise from the ashes. "Indian was founded in 1901 and by 1913 was the largest and most technically advanced motorcycle producer in the world," says Melvin. "Indian designed innovative, cutting-edge technology in the early 1900's with electric starters, lights, full suspension and much more. I want to return Indian Motorcycle to its top position in the industry. It's time for an American manufacturer to give the public what it deserves: A motorcycle designed with the performance, styling, comfort and technological advances equal to the heritage of this famous brand."
Time has yet to write the future of the Indian Motorcycle Corporation. If Melvin is successful in his bid, the Indian legend will be reborn and could flourish into the next century. In the meantime, he and his business partners work to create a model for a reorganized Indian Motorcycle Corporation with a vision to take Indian motorcycles to a new level of design and technological innovation. Melvin wants to reposition the brand to the stature of its early days when I.M.C. led the industry with cutting-edge features and designs, while the competition followed. Melvin says, "I envision a line of revamped and revitalized Indian motorcycles built FOR riders BY riders - and to very exacting standards."
"The demand for a SUPERIOR motorcycle exists, it's up to US to build a bike that riders can't live without," says Melvin. "Motorcycling is a passion, an adrenalin rush. It has to be love at first sight and the ride has to leave you smiling. Our plan is to produce a bike that riders will lust after." He would also expand the I.M.C. line of exclusive branded products and develop new items targeted to the discerning cycle enthusiast.
Melvin encourages Indian customers to support local dealers and to remember that limited production bikes and apparel are destined to become valuable collectors items. He wants to reassure Indian dealers concerned about negative effects on their bottom line due to the I.M.C. plant shutdown. "Dealers are welcome to contact N.R.E.L. for a free confidential consultation regarding services and strategies we offer for retailers experiencing financial hardships or inventory problems," Melvin adds.