Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Business

Barney's Motorcycle and Marine celebrates 70 years of family ownership

BRANDON — Harry and Rosalee Barclay were toiling as defense workers at the Chicago Bridge and Iron shipyard during World War II when they decided to start their own business.

With $500 and a dream, Harry Barclay, who was called "Barney," went to an Indian Motorcycle factory, purchased a bike and brought it back to their Bloomington, Ill., store they named the Wigwam.

The year was 1946 and the couple soon realized motorcycles would sell better in sunny Florida, so they moved near some friends in the small South Florida town of Ojus. Since the tiny town was not large enough to support the business, the couple opened Barney's Motorcycle Sales in the early 1950s on Gandy Boulevard in St. Petersburg.

Now known as Barney's Motorcycle and Marine, the company is celebrating its 70th anniversary of being in the power sports industry. The Barclays' grandchildren, KC Wood (St. Petersburg) and Todd Hempstead (Brandon), operate two of the locations, while Todd's father, Ray, oversees a third store in Brooksville.

Barney's acquired the Brandon location in 1999 and has expanded it twice — in 2002 and 2009 — adding a watercraft and boat showroom and becoming one of the largest marine dealers in the Southeast. Over the years, the store has sold many brands of motorcycles: AJS, BMW, BSA, Ducati, Moto Guzzi, Lambretta Scooters, Norton, Triumph and Zundapp. And now it features Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Can-Am and Sea-Doo at the Brandon location.

"Everything has changed," Wood said. "In the 1970s, we sold more bikes with one store and one line. Now we have three stores with 12 lines. (Watercraft) sure helped us when the industry was at an all-time low during the gas crisis of the 1980s. We took some solid financial hits in inventory, but we did weather it."

Barney's also bounced back from a fire that devastated the St. Petersburg store in the 1990s, made it through the recession at a time when luxury purchases dropped, and declined buyout offers from investors.

"It feels like we are not getting as many new riders as 10 years ago," Todd Hempstead said. "We're seeing a lot of sales in watercraft and ATVs. You look outside and see the sign with your grandfather's name on it and you want to keep going.

"Our reputation means something to us."

The family also built a bit of a name in the racing circuit, which is documented in a museum inside the original store. Ray Hempstead rode a Yamaha TR3 to a second-place finish in the 1972 Daytona 200, while Todd and KC earned state titles racing in Florida.

Barney's has become an alternative to Harley-Davidson, which sits across the street from the Brandon store. Todd Hempstead said riders can find more machinery in the inventory his family carries.

"What (Harley) has done is sold a lifestyle," he said. "When it comes to quality and technology, these are quite a bit more advanced."

For example, he said, the three-wheel Spyders at Barney's feature an easier option for new riders or women who don't want to deal with heavy cruisers because the weight is placed near the front wheels. The super sport bikes include a six-axis gyroscope that measures forces and can automatically stiffen the suspension or provide antiwheelie technology.

At Barney's, you can find "side by sides" — with seats next to each other — for mudding, utility work, hunting or ranching, as well as motocross and mini bikes starting at 50 cc for kids. Adventure touring bikes and dual purpose motorcycles for trail and street hybrid riding also are popular.

The Barney family business has grown to nearly 100 employees, but lost an icon last month when Beverley Jean Newton, one of two daughters of founders Barney and Rosalee, died after battling cancer. The family owners say the business might end up in the hands of a fourth generation if they can keep the successful ride going.

"Motorcycles can get in your blood and you can't get it out," Todd Hempstead said.

SHARE YOUR NEWS: If you have an item for Everybody's Business, contact Eric Vician at [email protected]

Comments
Career Q&A: Nut allergy is a serious workplace concern

Career Q&A: Nut allergy is a serious workplace concern

Q: My manager has recently started eating nuts at her desk, which is located right next to mine. Unfortunately, I have a serious nut allergy, so any contact with them could produce a life-threatening reaction. Even foods which contain tiny pieces of ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Yes, we have some bananas: Port Tampa Bay welcomes first shipment in 21 years

Yes, we have some bananas: Port Tampa Bay welcomes first shipment in 21 years

TAMPA — More than two decades after the last bunch arrived on shore, bananas are back at Tampa’s port. More than 3,900 pallets of Chiquita bananas from Ecuador arrived last week at the new Port Logistics Refrigerated Services warehouse.It was the fir...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Guess co-founder steps aside after allegations from Kate Upton

Guess co-founder steps aside after allegations from Kate Upton

Associated PressNEW YORK — Guess Inc. says that co-founder Paul Marciano will give up his day-to-day responsibilities at the clothing company until a sexual misconduct investigation is completed. Model and actress Kate Upton told Time magazine earlie...
Published: 02/20/18
Grocery retailer Albertsons to buy drugstore chain Rite Aid

Grocery retailer Albertsons to buy drugstore chain Rite Aid

Associated PressThe privately held owner of Safeway, Vons and other grocery brands is plunging deeper into the pharmacy business with a deal to buy Rite Aid, the nation’s third-largest drugstore chain. Albertsons Companies is offering either a share ...
Published: 02/20/18
Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

After national headlines and a public outcry over the deaths of 14 people at a Broward County nursing home after Hurricane Irma, nursing homes across the state are working to comply with new rules requiring them to have back-up power.But the process ...
Published: 02/20/18
Yoshi — car maintenance that comes to you — launches in Tampa Bay

Yoshi — car maintenance that comes to you — launches in Tampa Bay

A California-based company that promises to bring limited on-site car maintenance directly to you — from an oil change to a fill-up — has picked Tampa Bay as its next pit stop."Anything that your car needs, we’re going to bring to you," said Nick Ale...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Business Digest for Feb. 23

Business digestEventsCHAMBER RIBBON-CUTTINGS: The Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce will have two ribbon-cuttings in the coming week:• Access Health Care Physicians/Dr. Janice Rodriguez, 5290 Applegate Drive, Spring Hill, 10 a.m. Feb. 23. C...
Published: 02/20/18

Pasco Business Digest for Feb. 23

Business digestBrieflyLOCAL COMMUNITY RECOGNIZED: CHUY’S RESTAURANT TO OPEN: Chuy’s, the Austin-based Tex-Mex restaurant, will open its first Tampa Bay area location this spring near Cypress Creek Town Center in Wesley Chapel. The restaurant at 25750...
Published: 02/20/18
Steve Wozniak charms USF crowd: ‘The human or the technology — what’s more important?’

Steve Wozniak charms USF crowd: ‘The human or the technology — what’s more important?’

TAMPA — Steve Wozniak, the inventor of the Apple personal computer, is the tech genius who sounds less like an engineer, more like a philosopher.Startups? They can be a lot of fun — if started up for the right reason."The purpose should never be, thi...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Epilogue: Tourism community remembers Paradise founder Cedar Hames

Epilogue: Tourism community remembers Paradise founder Cedar Hames

When Cedar Hames spoke, you listened.He was a natural storyteller, always dressed sharp to match his wit and natural elegance. He grew a two-person business in St. Petersburg into a leading tourism, advertising and marketing agency over an esteemed 3...
Published: 02/19/18
Updated: 02/20/18