Founder of Bikers Dream Leaves Company
Dennis Campbell has resigned as head of Bikers Dream, the Harley-Davidson parts store that he launched on credit cards and caffeine in 1990 and built into a publicly traded chain of custom motorcycle shops.
Campbell also gave up his seat on the board of directors of the company, which has been losing money since going public in March 1995.
Investors Rowland Day and Don Duffy have been appointed co-chief executives of the company.
Campbell, whose own stable of expensive sports cars and exotically customized Harleys belied the fact that Santa Ana-based Bikers Dream has been burdened with heavy losses, swapped 950,000 shares of his stock for ownership of the company’s superstore in Clearwater, Fla. He also used about 600,000 shares to pay off certain debts and remains a major stockholder with 957,000 shares, Duffy said.
Company directors announced Campbell’s resignation after a meeting Monday morning and the company’s stock, which has been languishing in the Nasdaq market for most of the last year, responded by jumping 50% to close at $2.25 a share Monday, up 75 cents for the day.
“There’s a lot going on now, we’re starting with a clean sheet and the market is responding to the change of management,” said Duffy.
Among other things, he said, the company has signed a dealership agreement with Ultra Kustom Cycles. The Riverside manufacturer of replicas of customized Harley-Davidsons is owned by stretch-limousine maker Ultra Koach.
Bikers Dream sold the Florida store to Campbell as part of its ongoing effort to cut costs and improve operating results, Duffy said.
Bikers Dream has three company-owned stores, in Sacramento, Santa Ana and Dallas, and three franchise dealers, in Arizona, New Mexico and Florida.
The stores, which average 10,000 square feet, sell and service used and customized Harley-Davidson motorcycles and the new Ultra Kustom bikes and sell extensive lines of motorcycle parts, accessories and wearing apparel.
In an interview earlier this year, Campbell recalled how he downed coffee for days on end to stay awake as he launched the business in a small store in Huntington Beach. He was seeking to capitalize on the resurgence of interest in Harley bikes by well-heeled people in their late 30s and up who could now afford to indulge in luxuries they had missed in their younger days.
He later moved Bikers Dream into larger quarters in Santa Ana. The company’s financial problems apparently stemmed from its rapid expansion into franchising. Most of the early franchise agreements have been canceled.
The company raised $1.2 million in a private placement earlier this year. Campbell’s resignation followed a report in late August that the company lost almost $990,000 in the second quarter, bringing accumulated losses since going public to almost $4 million.