March 7 marked a turning point for local European motorcycle lovers. Founder Milt McNally confirmed that he and his son Jordan have sold their interests in Destination MotorCycles.
The Ducati/Triumph/Moto Guzzi/Piaggio/KTM/BMW dealer at Dixie Lee Junction will be owned by a new company formed by Bill Lindsey and Terry Lewis (owners of Ultimate Toys Polaris, Suzuki, and Aprilia), Randy Burleson (owner of Aubrey's Restaurants) and Gary Grove (current Destination partner). McNally opened the store in November 2000 and initially sold Ducati, Triumph, Vespa and the then-new Indian. Current plans for the dealership call for minimal changes in operation.
The deal had been under discussion since January, and was not driven by the current economic situation, says McNally.
"Last year was the best year we ever had by any measure: units, profits, dollars," McNally says. "I turned 60. I never intended to be here forever. When I started I had a 10-year horizon, and I had the opportunity to do it." For the new owners, Milt has nothing but praise: "They're good people; they know what they're doing. I hope it [Destination] becomes the world's biggest, the best. Ten years from now I can say I founded that place."
The original location is a few hundred yards from the current store, which moved in fall of 2005 when BMW was added to the product line. "That's when I quit riding," Milt adds. Now that it's not his job, "I'm going to take up motorcycle riding again." Milt and Jordan will continue to help through a transition period lasting maybe two months, but after that will no longer be officially associated with the business. The remaining sales, parts, and service staffers will continue on in their current positions.
Both Milt and Jordan plan to stay in the Knoxville area. Milt has planned to take a photography course in New York, and then a trip to Mexico. His one regret? "I never bought a motorcycle from myself," he says. "When I came here nine years ago I owned two motorcycles, a red BMW and a red Ducati. I'm walking out the door with my same red Ducati." Asked what bike in the store he'd buy with his own money, he picked the Ducati Multistrada, with the Triumph Tiger a close second.