Four days after I broke the news that Big Dog Motorcycles was closing, that the lender would foreclose on them, that the company would start calling dealers to inform them, that CEO Sheldon Coleman would create a new company to distribute parts under the name of “Big Dog Performance Parts”, that the new company would re-hire current employees to handle this new business, Big Dog Motorcycles President Mike Simmons finally admits that the company was seized by its bank and forced to close, so acknowledging that my news were 100%accurate (see his official statement to PowerSports Business after the jump)
Since last Thursday, date at which I learned that Big Dog Motorcycles had furloughed 10 more employees (not fired because furloughed employees don’t receive paid vacation like fired people…) it has been quite a few strange days regarding the company corporate behavior and the way some media behave when I break an important story they don’t have. This same Thursday I started investigative work to know what was really going on at the company. On Friday, after verification from several reliable sources, I had all the facts to certify that Big Dog Dog was about to close for good. So, I sent an email to a top executive at Big Dog to ask (without revealing all what I knew) if the company had an official statement to give me regarding their situation. On Sunday, I prepared my article, deciding to wait until Monday beginning of the afternoon to give my interlocutor at Big Dog a chance to reply.
On Monday April 4, 2011 at 1.15pm EST I received the following reply from Big Dog Motorcycles “Hi Cyril, We did have some people laid off. Just more downsizing that is all, nothing of really important newsworthy information.” I immediately replied “it’s not true, you are closing…” and uploaded my breaking news “Big Dog Motorcycles Is Closing” with all details now confirmed 4 days later by President Mike Simmons.
Immediately, I was contacted by the Wichita Business Journal journalist who just published the same morning an article where the same Mike Simmons was confirming that there was a new reduction of workers but (in substance) that at Big Dog it was business as usual. (we are open…) I confirmed to this journalist that my news were verified and he left several messages to CEO Sheldon Coleman requiring a statement regarding my disclosure. This Thursday morning the same journalist emailed to me to say that his calls were still not returned..Since Monday, many newspapers and motorcycle magazines contacted me to know my sources and I told them all that my report was verified and that I will not disclose more for now. DealerNews published in the afternoon an interview of largest Big Dog Dealer Rick Fairless at Strokers Dallas who confirmed my statements after he talked directly to Big Dog CEO Sheldon Coleman. Hours later several online magazines and newspapers quoted me to announce that Big Dog was closing. My direct online competitors didn’t quote me (of course), just publishing that it was a rumor from a Blog…(hello, your source of news got a name and you know very well that I never publish rumors)
Of course, since publication of my article, many media and dealers have called Big Dog to check on my news. The answer given by many persons at Big Dog was reported to me as “Cyril’s report is Bull…” Since Monday a few individuals, dealers and media have told me that they didn’t believe that Big Dog Motorcycles was closing, but most stated that they trusted my report but wondered, like me, why the company was not issuing an official statement. I told them that Big Dog may have good reasons to remain silent, but no good one to give instructions to employees to discredit my news by stating they are Bull when they know too well I stated the exact truth of what was going on. All this writing to state that Big Dog Motorcycles like all other companies must acknowledge my right and duty to my readers to publish important news, good or bad, as soon as I know them and that they are verified. If I can understand why a corporation wishes to remain silent until an appropriate time for its managers to make a statement, I think it’s a PR mistake to contradict yourself publicly by denying to medias and dealers to publicly admit later. If a company doesn’t want to say anything, that’s fine. Stay silent. But don’t deny true reports and try to discredit the one who does his honest journalistic job. Now, the Big Dog Motorcycles official admission of their closing.
Mike Simmons, President Big Dog Motorcycles To Powersports Business on April 7th:
“Big Dog Motorcycles was foreclosed upon on Wednesday afternoon, and the company has closed. Big Dog Motorcycles, LLC has been foreclosed on, its assets seized, and it is no more. The custom motorcycle OEM has struggled to survive for about the last 18 months. Its primary lending institution had worked with the company to help keep its doors open, but ultimately decided to go forward with a foreclosure. There’s been a variety of factors that have caused a lot of companies to go out of business the last two years, mostly dealing with the economy,” Simmons said. He added that retail lending availability was a big factor in Big Dog Motorcycles’ demise. Dealers and customers will feel an effect of the closure, above and beyond the supply of bikes. There is no longer a manufacturing company to supply dealers with motorcycles. There are no warranties”
However, in the wake of the closure, another company has been formed. Motorcycles Enterprises LLC, doing business as BDM Performance Products, will sell parts and accessories for existing Big Dog Motorcycles, and other models’ products will be added in the future. We plan on offering parts and accessories for other American V-twins. Clothing and other apparel will likely be available in the future as well. I will act as president of Wichita, Kan.-based BDM Performance Products, and its 20 employees are all former Big Dog Employees. Initial news about Big Dog Motorcycles’ closure and about the new company will be delivered to dealers through phone calls. Later, dealers will likely receive e-mail and direct mail communication about the change.”