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Motorcycle Superstore headed for Texas

Rogue Valley-bred Motorcycle Superstore will hit the road for the wide open spaces in Texas, taking nearly 120 jobs with it over the next 10 months.

Founded by Don Becklin during the 1990s in Grants Pass and headquartered in Medford since 2000, Motorcycle Superstore and Motorcycle USA have been successful in most ways, but haven't been able to attract all the workers desired by its present owner. 

Motorsport Aftermarket Group, an Irvine, Calif.-based company controlled by Indianapolis-based LDI Ltd. (Lacey Diversified Industries), informed employees at the company's Chevy Way offices Thursday it will end local operations around March 2016 and begin relocating to the Dallas-Forth Worth area in August. Motorcycle USA, which has fewer than 10 employees, will remain in Medford, but shift to a smaller building. 

Unable to fill key positions in Southern Oregon for the online retail and motorcycle news website units, local management began exploring options earlier this year, said Ryan Polk, retail director for Motorsport Aftermarket Group.

"Largely it comes down to the need for more people," Polk said. "We don't need new talent; the people we have do great work and are passionate. But we need more talent, and we're having to go to a place where there is more of that talent. We have a lot of great people on our team, but we haven't been able to give our team a full complement of teammates; a few key positions have been hard to fill."

He said marketing, merchandising and information technology roles were left wanting. One candidate declined to take a position because there wasn't a similar type of company in the valley, he said.

"If he relocated," Polk said, "there wasn't a Plan B."

MAG has explored moving its warehouse for two years. With the closing of a sister company, J&P Cycles, in Anamosa, Iowa, the operations will be merged in Louisville, Ky. Call center work will be shifted to Daytona, Fla.

While the Iowa relocation is predicated on the end of a warehouse lease, MAG leases its Medford property from Becklin.

"We're still meeting with employees individually, so we haven't nailed down dates," Polk said. He said Motorcycle Superstore's move will affect 118 jobs.

Becklin founded Motorcycle USA, a media firm, at his Grants Pass residence in 1996 and formed online seller Motorcycle Superstore in 1998. He moved both enterprises to Medford in 2000. After Musician's Friend vacated the Chevy Way location in 2011, Becklin acquired the 44,800-square-foot building for $3 million in 2012, moving 130 employees to the site.

While Becklin was buying the property, he was also in the process of selling the company to Motorsport Aftermarket Group.

In March 2012, MAG announced its acquisition of Motorcycle Superstore, naming Becklin president of its retail organization that also included J&P Cycles of Anamosa. In April of that year, MAG said it acquired Motorcycle USA and was combining it with another business it had purchased, Cycle News, to form the MAG Media Group. Again Becklin retained the title of president, reporting to Motorsport Aftermarket Group CEO Brian Etter. Andrew Graves was subsequently named CEO earlier this year when Etter left the organization.

Since February, however, Becklin has taken on a new role with MAG, as strategy and marketing adviser. Attempts to reach him Friday were unsuccessful.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31, and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/EconomicEdge.

Andrew Hendrix, assistant manager, left, helps a customer at Motorcycle USA in Medford. Mail Tribune file photo