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Unity sparks new cycle of optimism

The easy part is done, so now it's on to the real makeover as the staffs at Motorcycle USA and Motorcycle Superstore look forward to consolidating their Medford headquarters under one roof.

President Don Becklin said Friday the front office area — on the south side of the 44,800-square-foot building wedged on just a little more than 3 acres between Automation Way and Chevy Way — is done.

The second phase, on the north side, will take another 90 days before the firm can move its 150 employees into the former Musician's Friend building.

"Phase I was primarily paint and carpet, and Phase II is more in-depth remodeling," said Becklin, who in 1998 founded what is now a $100 million motorcycle accessories and media venture in his Grants Pass garage.

The project will cost between $900,000 and $1.1 million, he said.

Becklin said members of the Motorcycle USA editorial staff, video editors and a couple of managers already have jumped from the suites the company has occupied along East McAndrews Road.

"We're kind of juggling people right now because we're running out of space," said Becklin, whose staff has grown about 20 percent from 125 a year ago. "We're dedicated to growth and adding additional resources, primarily on the information technology side."

The company has another 10 people in its Medford distribution center, along with 75 at a Louisville, Ky., distribution center.

In a still-rocky economic landscape, retailers are looking for edges wherever they can find them.

"Last year, we had an OK year at the superstore, but it wasn't the strongest year in the world," Becklin said. "What we're looking at is the future, especially on the technology side. We've got to be innovative. Even if last year wasn't great, we need to continue to innovate — especially if the economy rebounds. When the consumer comes back into our arena, we don't want to lose pace with our competition."

Rocky Mountain ATV/MC of Payson, Utah; Competition Motorsports USA of Portland; and Dennis Kirk of Rush, Minn., are primary competitors in a crowded field, Becklin said.

Just like other local Internet retailers, such as Harry & David in Medford and Fire Mountain Gems in Grants Pass, customer acquisition and retention is the name of the game.

"Would a sports-bike rider buy a dirt bike?" Becklin asked. "Will a dirt-bike rider want tires and something else?"

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/Economic Edge.

Motorcycle USA and Motorcycle Superstore are remodeling the former Musician's Friend building on Chevy Way in north Medford. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch - Jamie Lusch