Customers of the abruptly shuttered Boardtracker Harley-Davidson apparently have begun to retrieve motorcycles they had in storage or in for repairs at the dealership on Janesville’s north side.
There were signs of activity at the dealership Wednesday after employees said the dealership closed its doors Saturday. There was little notice of the closure for customers beyond a piece of copier paper taped to the front door that read “The dealership is closed.”
When a Gazette reporter arrived at Boardtracker shortly after 5 p.m., Wednesday, the dealership’s lights were on, but when the reporter approached the front door, the lights snapped off.
One man seen exiting the rear of the dealership and locking up the doors said Boardtracker is only “temporarily” closed without elaborating. He said he and a few others had spent “five hours” at the dealership trying to track down customers whose bikes had been in storage or in for repairs at Boardtracker while the store has been closed.
“What we’re doing today is we spent hours trying to get everybody (with a motorcycle here) back in possession,” the man said. “It’s a matter of getting in touch with individuals to get them their stuff.”
The man did not give his name because he said he was not authorized to give details on the dealership’s closure.
The shop closed Saturday amid an ongoing lawsuit in which Harley-Davidson’s credit division is suing Boardtracker’s owner for fraud over millions of dollars the owner borrowed and never paid back.
The owner also operated a Harley dealership in New Berlin that is also named in the lawsuit. Lawyers for Harley-Davidson have declined comment this week on the suit, and the dealers’ owner hasn’t returned calls from The Gazette seeking comment.
Boardtracker’s ownership has been trying to sell both locations, and a secretary at the New Berlin dealer said it was still open early this week and “was sort of separate now” from Boardtracker. The secretary was unable to give more details.
Boardtracker has winter storage that local motorcycle owners use, and it runs a new Harley-Davidson showroom, a used motorcycle showroom and a service center. The man at the dealership Wednesday didn’t say how many customers’ motorcycles were still there.
“It’s not like they’re in hard lockup,” the man said. “We’re temporarily closed.”
The man declined to say more about plans at Boardtracker.
“News is forthcoming. It’s pending,” he said.
The man’s statement matches a new sign, also printed on copier paper, that was taped to the front doors at Boardtracker: “The dealership is temporarily closed.”
Matt Scheurman, a Milton man who dropped off his bike at the dealership for a drive belt replacement in March, said earlier this week that Boardtracker wasn’t returning his calls. He said he owns his Harley outright and didn’t even buy it at Boardtracker. He took it there for service because the dealership was near where his bike broke down, he said
Scheurman said the dealership had told him it needed to wait on a shipment of parts, but he hadn’t heard a word in weeks until last weekend when he said a family member saw a Facebook post that Boardtracker was closed.
On Wednesday, Scheurman said, his friend was driving past Boardtracker and saw there was activity at the dealership. Scheurman said his friend called him, and Scheurman quickly headed there to see if he could get access to his bike, a late-model Harley-Davidson Electric Classic.
He said two people he recognized as service department workers gave him some paperwork and told him the repairs hadn’t been made.
Feeling that could be the case, Scheurman brought a trailer hooked to his vehicle. Meanwhile, Scheurman said, he saw a couple of other customers show up, talk to employees and ride away on motorcycles that were at Boardtracker. He said he didn’t know if they were bikes the customers had bought, had repaired or had in storage.
Scheurman said the dealership didn’t charge him, but he also didn’t get any answers about why his bike wasn’t fixed, why the dealership closed or whether it will reopen.
Earlier this week, an employee told The Gazette he believed he no longer had a job at Boardtracker, and he said most employees already had been lining up jobs elsewhere because operations at the dealership had started to grind down amid the lawsuit.
The employee said Harley-Davidson had stopped shipping new bikes and parts to Boardtracker in the last few months.
Scheurman said he asked the workers if they were getting paid for their efforts to iron out customer confusion tied to the abrupt closure.
“They told me they didn’t know if they were getting paid. If they weren’t, hats off to them for helping out customers. I don’t know. I didn’t ask a lot of questions. I’ve lost my job before,” Scheurman said. “I’m just glad I got my bike back, even if it wasn’t repaired. That beats having to file a lawsuit to be able to get at a motorcycle I already own.”