FOLLOW YOUR PASSION: Rick Hatch, Owner of EagleRider

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(Illustrations by Michelle Neal. All Rights Reserved)


My muse this week is Rick Hatch. Rick owns Phoenix EagleRider.

WHY RICK QUALIFIES TO BE ONE OF THE 2015 FEARLESS THIRTEEN.

I have officially been a biker since the age of eighteen when I started to ride regularly. However, I can honestly say I fell in love with Harleys as a little girl while watching my uncle/godfather and his nephew Johnny ride Harley Davidsons. As a result, I ride my own Harley Davidson motorcycle. (Yes, they do sell them to women.) At the time I bought my Softail (named Ruby because she is red) there were not many women riding but every year, I am happy to say, I meet more and more women who ride. I am proud to be a biker that rides her own. I drove Ruby off the Green Mountain Harley Davidson lot on April 14, 2000. I also drive a Cadillac because I believe in buying American manufactured products. That being said, when I move to a new city, before I figure out what grocery store I will shop at, I find the closest Harley dealership. When I first came to Arizona in June of 2009, I found Hacienda, Scottsdale’s Harley Davidson dealership. Rick and Julie Hatch were among the first people I met here in Arizona.

This couple intrigued me right away because they are clearly real bikers and they are savvy business people. I love it when people find a way to combine their life’s passion with business. I was there at their send off party in 2012 after they sold Hacienda Harley Davidson to Go Daddy’s Bob Parsons. It was a very emotional day. I have sold a few businesses in my life so I know how hard it is to let go of a business that has taken up your every waking thought since the moment you envisioned it. I could see the weight of this decision on both Rick and Julie that day. The day you let go of your baby is an odd combination of death and re-birth. It is safe to say that it is a big day when you finally let your baby go.

Rick Hatch bought a “piece of dirt” in 1996 and two years later he opened what would become the largest Harley dealership at the time (30,000 sq. ft.). His was the first and only dealership opened on Sundays and the first to rent bikes. Rick frequently has the habit of being the first to launch a business idea. Hacienda was the prelude to the Hatch’s story, however, it is not the reason I interviewed Rick Hatch.

The reason I interviewed Rick was because he is again leading the industry with Phoenix EagleRider. Rick is just one of those guys who can’t retire. The reason he can’t retire is because of the very same reason he and his wife Julie intrigued me when I first met them. He has a real passion for the motorcycle industry. It is not a “j-o-b” to him – motorcycles have been his life. How can you retire from your life? Rick asserts that you can’t or at the very least don’t want to so he is doing it again because he cannot help himself. He has to do it again.

Of course, Phoenix EagleRider is currently the leading the franchise as demonstrated by generating the largest volume of business. Rick states that the only stores that beat their numbers are the corporate stores. Rick goes on to say that at Phoenix EagleRider, they “Service, Sell and Rent Dreams.” I think that is accurate . Anyone who has a motorcycle, regardless of the brand, has dreamt about owning that bike for a long time. Some of us rent them long before we buy them and/or we rent them when we travel. Some of us have to negotiate the strong feelings of others and our budgets in order to own them. For those of us who are true bikers and not just motorcycle enthusiasts (and there is nothing wrong with being an enthusiast), we have no choice but to rent and then own our dream. I have given away most everything I own. The one thing I will never give away or sell or replace is my Ruby, my motorcycle. We who ride know that being a biker is not just a hobby – it is a lifestyle and it has a culture all of its own. Bikers are a family.

The three biggest things that impress me the most about Rick are:

  1. His undying passion for motorcycles.
  2. He is a go-getter and a survivor.
  3. He continues to feel the absolute need to have meaning in his life.

In a nutshell….

Rick Hatch is a serial entrepreneur. He just simply cannot help himself. He has to run his own thing. He has to be in the game and he has to be a leader. After our interview he told me he would rather die running his business or on his motorcycle than sit back, put his feet up and die a slow uninspired death. Hats off to you Rick Hatch for showing us how it is done!

FEARLESS INTERVIEW

Rick took a few minutes out to answer the Art of Fearlessly Doing Business Questions. You will not be surprised to hear that retirement was not for him!

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM RICK ABOUT BEING FEARLESS?

1.) Be First 

Throughout his career Rick has lead the pack. He has been the biggest, the fastest, the largest, the first, and the best. He is a leader with Phoenix EagleRider now and he will continue to be the first with many new ventures. I have no doubt that if Rick is able to acquire the Polaris Slingshot and Indian brands, he will lead the pack with those brands just as he did with the Harley Davidson brand. This is just how he is wired. He has to be the first.

2.) Tighten Up Ship

Rick tells us that when he had the Harley brand behind him it was easier to make mistakes because of the cash flow volume. It is a smart and savvy business owner who recognizes when the room for error is greatest and tightens up operations to make up for that fact. When cash flow is tighter – tighten up ship!

3.) Retirement Ain’t for Everyone

We all try to save for a time when we can retire. A time when we can kick back and just enjoy our hobbies and one another. When your hobby is your work, what is the point of retiring? Since the recession, there has been a trend where people are staying in the work force longer and some folks know they will never be able to retire. That is not the case for Rick Hatch. Rick says, “Doing nothing just did not work for us.” He prospered and could retire and keep driving around in an RV seeing the country with his beautiful wife Julie. However, the idea of a traditional retirement was torture to Rick. I think it would be for me too. When you do what you love, it is not work. It is your life. Rick could never imagine punching the clock as a W2 employee nor can he imagine merely sitting back with his feet up not living his life’s purpose. Rick missed the biker culture and the daily routine of being around his customers and friends who loved to ride as much as he does. Rick needs meaning in his life and he gets that meaning from being a successful business owner.

4.) Don’t be Afraid to Run with the Big Dogs

Rick has never been afraid to not only run with the big dogs but to be the lead dog. He is not afraid to be bold and seek out a big brand to work with that will provide his business additional credibility. I took a closer look at the Polaris Company, the Indian Brand and the Polaris Slingshot for this blog. To me, the Indian and Slingshot are exciting American brands. I like their company values. In fact, over the past five years I have felt that when I do buy a new bike to keep Ruby company, it will most likely be an Indian. I have been watching the Polaris CEO Scott W. Wine. He is a man on a mission for sure. The Polaris Creed aligns with Hatch’s passion: “Understand the Rising Experience. Live the Riding Experience. Work to Make it Better.” I am definitely crossing my fingers for Rick and Julie because Polaris would be lucky to have them in their camp!

5.) Follow Your Passion

Rick started with nothing but forty thousand dollars in borrowed money when he bought the property that would become Hacienda Harley. He had a passion for the business that he was about to build. When we follow our passion it is not only hard work, it is also inspired fun. Rick can’t imagine asking someone when he could take a vacation. He does take breaks for his non-motorcycle hobbies such as ; flying planes and hunting to name a couple as well as spending time with family. He has had to overcome many bad breaks and his heart has had to heal several times from significant losses. He lost his seventeen year-old son on a motorcycle and his brother several years ago and the sister-in-law in a plan crash just after he closed on Hacienda. People will ask him how can he continue to sell motorcycles after losing a son on one? I am sure there has had to be some negotiation of that fact in his heart. The reality is that Rick does not merely sell and rent motorcycles – motorcycles are his life. It is not just what he does for a living, it is his life’s passion. He will tell you that he would rather die on his motorcycle, or in the woods hunting or in an airplane LIVING than in a nursing home dying. I agree with this way of LIVING so I say, good for you Rick. I get it!

Thank you so much Rick for taking the time out to be one of the Fearless 13! I look forward to seeing you again at the Art of Fearlessly Doing Business Art Opening on Dec 18th at the {9} Gallery from 6-9PM.

Note from the Artist:
RICK’S ILLUSTRATION’S STORY:

What is it about riding a motorcycle? Yes it is the wind in your face. Yes, there is nothing like a solo brain dump when you are having a bad day. There is something calming about standing in a gas station parking lot leaning up against your bike with a hot cup of coffee taking a break from a few hours of solo wind therapy. However, it is a truly special experience in getting a group of your biker family together and going for a ride, especially a long ride. There is nothing quite like riding in a tight pack of bikes surrounded by those biker family on all sides. The reason I chose the rear mirror view for this panel is because there are always things behind us that we are all riding away from. Rick Hatch has had to ride away from Hacienda, at least three major losses and I am sure much more than I can imagine in his life. He has survived it all with grace amid a tight pack of friends, family and fellow biker customers. I chose the Arizona sunset for a few reasons but mostly because lately we have had some KILLER sunsets and there is nothing like the Arizona sky on fire. To me, fire is passion.


 

 

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OTHER ART IS AVAILABLE FOR SALE:

The Art of Fearlessly Doing Business hangs in the {9} The Gallery until Dec 30th and is available by appointment through the gallery until Jan 18th. The show is 1/2 sold however there are still panels available. Check out www.fearlesslydeliver.com/FearlessArt/AvailableArt to see the panels that are still available. Interested Parties should call  Laura Dragon at 602.465.3264. 20% of the proceeds from the sale of the panels is donated to the Arizona Consortium for the Arts Charity.

{9} The Gallery
1229 Grand Ave.
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
602.465.3264