Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Origins of Worth Harley-Davidson Kansas City - Ray Worth

I was at a bike event last summer when a younger rider asked me if I bought my bike from Gail's or Rick's dealership. I told him my bike came from Ray Worth. He responded, "Who is Ray Worth?" I realized then that a lot of the newer Harley riders around KC are not aware of the people in the Worth family and how their Harley-Davidson dealer network developed. I thought I would post this info to make it easier.

Ray Worth has been a friend of my dad's for longer than I have been alive. He and his wife Beverly started the whole deal purchasing the dealership in Belton in 1978. Ray Worth is an extremely colorful character, shrewd businessman and all around interesting cat. He oversaw the dealership during some of the darker days of AMF ownership. He told me that on more than one occasion he was "30 days from closing the doors." He and Beverly managed the business through these times by continuing to support HD customers and diversifying into dirt bikes and watercraft (in a separate building at the Belton location).

They also opened a north location in Kansas City on North Oak. They started in a smaller building on North Oak that is south of the second North Oak location they opened later. Blue Springs HD was started in 1998 and has remained at the same location.

Around 2000 Ray and Beverly sold out to the children. Gail Worth bought the Belton dealership, Rick Worth bought the north store and Ray and David Worth became partners in the Blue Springs location.

In 2004 Gail moved her dealership from Belton to the current Grandview location.

In 2009 Rick bought the building off I-29 on Prairie View road and moved the North Oak dealership there.

Lori Worth is the only sibling who does not work for the family business. Last I knew she had an advertising agency that did a lot of work around Kansas City.

Here is a family photo from a feature story in the Kansas City Star that ran back in August of 2003 with everyone identified.