SAMSON RELOCATES TO STURGIS, SD
Q. If a guy is thinking about relocation his company, give us the pros and cons?
A. On one hand relocating my business to the Black Hills of South Dakota was the toughest decision I have had to make so far while in business, but on the other hand it was an easy one. The idea of living and working in the Black Hills was very appealing. The summers are a dream come true for motorcycle riders. The winters are usually semi mild in nature most of the time. Cold but tolerable. Riding in January is common when a blustery warm 60 degree day brings out tons of motorcycles out early from winter hibernation. There are a lot of riders living in the Black Hills. Most of them are transplants from a different area just like myself. The biggest problem we have here so far is getting settled in. You don't realize the amount of junk you accumulate until it gets packed up and moved to a new place where you have to unpack it all and find a place for it. I found stuff that had been packed up from a move back in the 90's. We wondered whatever happened to this or that until all of a sudden there it is packed nicely in a box you remember setting aside for safe keeping. In some cases safe-keeping was a little too safe. It's a little like receiving a present. For the most part I would say that moving to the Black Hills was somewhat of a present in itself.
Q. On a cold winter nights do you miss California?
A. Ahhh, the cold winter nights. As long as you don't spend a lot of time outdoors cold winter nights are easy. As I write this in November in California we are experiencing summer like conditions with the temperature in the 80's at the beach. Do I miss this weather? Yes. It's weather like this what makes so many people want to come to California in the first place. Riding at night without a jacket is unbelievable with the night air hitting your face. It's like heaven to me. But riding in the Black Hills is also heaven for me so if I was to choose which place has the best riding quality it is the Black hills. For the quantity of riding it's California.
Q. Is South Dakota/Sturgis helpful to new businesses wanting to relocate?
A. South Dakota has no state income tax! To me that is a big deal. This is a great help when it comes to your bottom line. South Dakota is also giving some great incentives to move your business. They are very helpful and anxious to help in many ways. The economic development department in Sturgis is also very helpful. Anyone who has a good business and wants to relocate to the Sturgis Industrial Park (Yes, we have an Industrial Park) may be given land on which to build. This is huge cost reduction or us that are looking for a reduced cost of relocating. There are many other incentives available for those who want to move here.
Q. Do you need staff, tell us about any positions you need to fill?
A. When we moved we expected some of our employees to come with us. Some did which is a big help. They helped train others to do what we do best and are very valuable personnel. The knowledge they have to share is very appreciated. One of the things I considered before moving here was the availability of qualified employees. The general status of work ethic in the area is very good. People just want to do a good job if you let them. The willingness to learn a new skill and to share the skills they have make it wonderful environment.
Q. What changes did you make to Samson during the new set-up?
A. Changes made for the new facility were well planned out ahead of time. Implementing cell manufacturing techniques help the flow of product through the manufacturing process very smooth. Our building is a "purpose built" facility we planned from day one to be just that, a manufacturing facility. The manufacturing floor is laid out for product to flow in the same direction constantly allowing ease of manufacturing. All product flows toward the back door for shipping purposes. This is something we didn't have at the previous facility.
Q: How does your daughter feel about the move? That's really the most important question.
A. Although my daughter, Rachel, was apprehensive of the move, which would uproot her from her comfort zone, she has been invaluable in the course of the move. There are some things that are much more valuable than money that's for sure.
Q: Tell us about the new building and the benefits to Samson customers!
A. Sturgis is a town centrally located in the U.S. so shipping our product to either shore makes our product readily available to everyone no matter where you live. Sturgis, the "City of Riders" is a Mecca of motorcycle enthusiasts where new product can be developed with a lot of input from the motorcycle community. Shipping is easy with UPS just a half block away and freight services in nearby Rapid City.
Q. So what's exciting for 2014 from Samson?
A. 2014 will be the year of another breakout for Samson. Look for us to set some exciting new trends.
Q. So you went to Harvard business school, studied Feng Shui in California, and now you read the stars over the Black Hills. Tell us, oh wise one, what's up for custom motorcycles for 2014?
A. Who would have ever thought I would be a graduate of Harvard Business School? Much less even being able to attend such a prestigious school in the first place. It's the luck of the draw I suppose. I'm not so sure about the Fung Shui thing at all since I still leave the toilet seat up most of the time. What I see from the moon and stars of the Black Hills for the motorcycle industry in 2014 is a great year for everyone. New cutting edge products, more disposable income for everyone, and a warmer climate to ride farther, smoother, longer, and uncut.