Nestled in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains is the small town of Port Clinton, Pennsylvania. Not only does the Appalachian Trail run right through town, but Port Clinton is also home to my favorite BMW dealer.
I have traveled through all 50 states on my motorcycle, covering over 300,000 miles and visiting many dealerships. Hermy’s BMW/Triumph always makes me feel like I have wandered into an old-school motorcycle emporium and feels like home. It is hard to put your finger on why, but it starts at the top with young Herman A. Baver, the general manager, and his wife Kris. Young Hermy (as we call him) was literally raised above the shop by its founder, his father, Herman W. Baver. Hermy was a hardworking automotive and truck tire salesman who started selling motorcycles out of his garage in 1963. He added the BMW marque in 1972. Together, they built the dealership into what it is today. Take a step back and you can see the staff they have assembled has been totally infused with the culture of fairness, honesty and service that is their hallmark.
To say that they are a riders’ shop dealing in BMWs and Triumphs is an understatement. One only has to listen to conversations with customers to realize these folks are riders, not posers. They ride year-round, which is no easy feat in this part of the country, and they know every aspect of their product, knowledge garnered through hundreds of thousands of miles in the saddle. You can hear them actively listen to their customers and they can often be heard making recommendations based on their extensive experience on how to select the perfect bike or farkle to meet the customer’s need. They will tell you what works and what does not and will not just push the product with the highest profit margin. The staff have collectively ridden over four million miles and includes veteran finishers of multiple long-distance motorcycle endurance competitions, including the grueling Iron Butt Rally.
The service staff have over 100 years of motorcycle service experience with two certified Master Technicians and two more well on the way to Master Tech certification. I love to talk to Karl, who is a wealth of BMW knowledge and experience and shares his knowledge and advice freely. The parts staff have over 50 years of combined experience. These are not part-time folks just looking for additional income, but full-time professionals taking their profession seriously. One of the most frustrating phrases I hear in dealerships all over the country is, “We don’t have that in stock, but we can order it for you.” I have yet to need something that Hermy’s did not have in stock. They carry one of the most extensive parts inventories I have found anywhere and they are a valuable resource in helping find exactly what you need. If your bike needs an overnight stay, they are one of the few remaining dealerships that offer a loaner bike, so you are not left high and dry.
Walk into the recently renovated and expanded showroom and you are made to feel at home to look, ask questions and test ride anything on the floor. The no-commission sales staff takes their time with you, whether you are a newcomer to the brand or a grizzled, veteran BMW rider. Riders come here from numerous states, sometimes just to have coffee, meet old friends, kick tires and enjoy the myriad of great roads in the area. Hermy’s also has numerous open house and special events ranging from great German food lunches to stunt riders and visits from world travelers to share their riding experiences in the spacious second-floor event room.
Hermy’s is now a third-generation family affair. If you step into the back office run by Hermy’s wife Kris, you will find their daughter Sabrina helping with administrative duties. Downstairs in the shop you will find son Alex assembling new bikes. Hermy is always on site, so questions requiring an owner’s perspective are answered quickly and fairly. I never pass through the area without stopping in to say hi, and I encourage others to make this a destination if you are ever in the area – tell them Bruce sent you! I know you will find it like no other dealership you have ever experienced. As one of your Regional Coordinators, I am appreciative of their faithful support of the BMW MOA and our rider population.