Bert's Black Widow
An entrepreneur's story, choosing Port Charlotte over the others
Bert King has walked alongside business titans. So the question is, what prompted him at age 57 to purchase a motorcycle dealership in a small town in Southwest Florida? Easy, he says, “because it was my bucket-list goal to own [a Harley-Davidson] dealership after age 50 and to own a home by the beach. And there’s something about this market; there’s a charm to it. I’ve really enjoyed it.” An auto dealer with stores in Texas, King sold his businesses in 2008 and began shopping for Harley franchises from Arizona to Florida. He settled in 2015 on the Black Widow Harley-Davidson in Port Charlotte, retagging it Bert’s Black Widow. He invested in marketing it, he says, quickly driving sales to the highest ranking in volume among Florida’s 17 or so dealers. The 35,000-square-foot facility offers parts and service and usually has 300 or so motorcycles on the sales floor. His Port Charlotte dealership is also tops in merchandising sales, he says, which prompted the purchase last August of another Harley-Davidson franchise. The second one is the former Jim’s Harley in St. Petersburg, now known as Bert’s Barracuda Harley-Davidson. King says buyers visit Bert’s Black Widow from all corners of the Sunshine State, but most are from Southwest Florida. In the last quarter of 2015, he says, Bert’s Black Widow sold nearly 600 motorcycles, averaging $3 million in sales each month. This volume placed
Bert’s Black Widow in the top 10 percent of Harley-Davidson dealerships in the U.S. There are some 1,400 dealers in 90 countries. The parent company in 2015 sold nearly 268,000 motorcycles and accessories that generated about $6 billion in overall sales. The company was founded in 1903 by William S. Harley and the brothers Arthur and Walter Davidson, in Milwaukee. King, who over much of his career sold cars, running or owning dealerships in Texas, was mentored by such business legends as Billy Joe “Red” McCombs and Larry Van Tuyl. McCombs is a business tycoon and former owner of several professional sports franchises, and Van Tuyl sold his auto dealership empire to Warren Buffett, the investment mogul. King’s two mentors today are worth billions. At about age 50, King began looking at retirement and began his quest for a Harley franchise. Today you can find him working his dealerships decked out in Harley gear and boots, greeting visitors on the floor. He travels between the two locations, working his experience and magic on those who now see him as the mentor. “It’s very humbling what’s happening,” he says. “And it’s not like work, it’s fun.”
Bert's Black Widow opened in 2015. Bert's Barracuda Harley-Davidson opened in St. Petersburg in August.
Bert King (center) is a former auto dealer. His Bert's Black Widow Harley-Davidson in Port Charlotte is a top franchise.