Good Luck

December 09th, 2019

LETTER TO THE EDITOR, Starley Craig, Liberal


Let me tell you a story. The most exciting words in the world are “Once Upon a Time.” Well, once upon a time ...

A motorcycle manufacturer came up with a beautiful machine — ran perfectly, and the company grew.

Then, without due diligence or an understanding of the reality of market and a firm connection to its customers, the folks in the board rooms decided their product should expand and attract a huge new market segment of sports tourism riders.

So, Harley-Davidson made an offer to Cagiva, a manufacturer of Italian cycles. They spent millions and millions of dollars buying the inventory, plants, stock machines and assuming all the debt Cagiva had. Vision of riders — sports tourism riders as it is a high performance machine — danced in their heads.

Cagiva bought back its brand, machines, plants, inventory, etc. from Harley when it became apparent to even the most rabid believer — for $1. I didn’t make it up.

Now, once upon a time a very successful Harley-Davidson dealer decided to sell. A gentleman from Garden City bought the dealership. Since he didn’t do his due diligence, he thought he could move the business to Garden, but Harley won’t let you move. So he had to drive back and forth for a long time. Should have asked.

Then, like Liberal — not a nickel’s worth of difference — he built a huge new store, then he had to fill it with all the items that bear Harley’s logo (keep in mind Harley makes nothing but motorcycles, but allows vendors - for a lot of money - to make stuff to fill up the store). He had more cycles than he could sell. His tax bill from the city was $40,000. He went belly up.

There’s nothing like due diligence. It took my husband 15 minutes with a broker in Wichita to figure out Trailmobile was a scam. Due diligence.

How much intelligence does it take to find out neither Garden City or Dodge City has a $52,000 a year sports tourism director? (Incidentally, if an AMA-sanctioned three-wheeler moto with champions competing isn’t sports tourism, then what is? And no, I didn’t go.).

Now we have a baker’s dozen of new schools, but no ore square footage, a faculty that includes non-certified teachers, a top-heavy administration and a beautiful (on the outside) administration building, so lovely that the superintendent assures us that applicants will flock to join up. Maybe they can be persuaded to mow the yard. The new building is smaller than the old one.

We have an already-done-deal (don’t kid yourself) to turn South Junior High into a rec center. Due diligence requires al the contingencies. Hardly any have been considered as far as I can tell — reconstruction, maintenance, personnel.

If you don’t know, leave it alone.

Personally, I look forward to a sports tourism event in, say, January. I’ll help count the money.

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