Walking into Harley Davidson of Lakeland, the archetype of “rough and tough” biker becomes passé. The establishment is stocked wall to wall with blockhead machines, the decor is chromed and studded, the air steeped in the scent of leather and the staff is as warm as exhaust pipes after a springtime rally.
For nearly 42 years this Polk County franchise, founded by Don Huffman, continues the honor of being the only factory authorized Harley Davidson store in the Lakeland area. A privilege Vice President and General Manager Bill Monts de Oca is proud of.
Mr. Monts de Oca’s love for motorcycles was prevalent from an early age having his first bike at 14 years old. After working professionally in the automotive industry for 7 years, Bill found his way back into his favorite pastime-motorcycles.
In 1999, the motorcycle enthusiast accepted a Service Manager position at Lakeland Harley Davidson. With hard work and passion for his trade, the manager and his team turned the service center into the accomplished department it is today. This dedication aided the expansion of the customer base to levels never seen before. Growth of the location had to follow-the building was upgraded from 5,000 square ft to a towering 26,000 square ft of (NYSE) HOGheaven.
The new broadened facility, located on State Road 33 in Lakeland, displays an impressive inventory of bikes ranging from stock to the epitome of custom. This biker’s dream store offers a full modification center, a complete service center, an array of retail items and an abundant selection of swag apparel.
Harboring a buried past secret, Bill admitted that he was not born a Ford man; he was a Chevrolet guy until around 1995. This loyal consumer decided to jump off the Chevy wagon when he first laid eyes on a 1995 Ford Escape. At a glance, a new allegiance was established; “I had a great product in the Ford Escape and I have been buying Fords ever since.”
Ford’s branded bond with Harley Davidson is what brought Bill to Ford automotive products, but it is Bartow Ford Companys’ business model that created an unwavering affinity for Ford vehicles. The VP describes the Central Florida Ford dealership as “Outstanding” and continues with “I’m always dealt with promptly, courteously, and professionally.” When Bill is in need of a new vehicle he contacts New Car Manager Mike Bedenbaugh Jr., who he has a long professional history with, making the purchase a simple process.
Bill further describes the personal care he receives when his vehicle requires service. “Bryan Boyett is my Service Advisor, it’s always very quick service and he keeps me in the loop.”
For almost 2 decades this loyal patron has been utilizing all departments at Bartow Ford. Bill Monts de Oca is a proud customer of both the Harley Davidson and Ford brands and so are many of his employees at Lakeland Harley Davidson. “We’re very happy that Ford and Harley Davidson have a close relationship. It’s great to have another local business that we can do business with.”