Draw Traffic to your HarleyStore  
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Interior and Exterior Murals - "The Cure for the Common Store"

This quest, to provide customers with something unique and unavailable at any other location, is the Holy Grail of every retailer. While many high-tech components and scientific studies of consumer behavior exist to guide the savvy retailer to create the ultimate shopping experience, sometimes the search leads right into the past.



Interior decorators have been using artists to bring specific ideas to life for centuries. They want a living or retail space to efficiently communicate a specific statement. Harley-Davidson is no different. The idea is to plant a seed and have something grow in the mind of the customer, and with motorcycles, we are talking emotion. We want to convey the heart-pounding, adrenalin-pumping, thrill of riding. Let’s face it, this is entertainment. You deal in artfully crafted chrome, fashionable leathers, and the mechanics of power, noise, and, of course, envy. It all draws traffic… repeated traffic…these customers are dedicated.


On any road trip, they stop at other Harley Stores. Do you ever wonder what makes your store stand out from the rest? The chrome inventory is virtually identical at all stores nationwide, along with much of the apparel, decorative household items, and the antique Harley images that hang on the walls.
How do you rise above the rest? What can you do to create a unique ambience at your store? Think showbiz. “Fire an act and hire a billposter.” Find a way; to not only convey your dedication to, not only provide the best bikes, service and related products; but validate that, as a business community, you understand and support the bikers’ longing to return to the road, find the freedom, taste the power and connect with the camaraderie of others. Perhaps a one-of-a-kind visual image will support the premise of your commitment, and provide a point of interest around the store for your customers to enjoy, as they return to purchase the next chrome piece and latest in custom-designed apparel. Bikers from out of town will also notice something extra about your store, and they will tell others. The entertainment factor will bring them back.


Such was the aspiration of Guy Bertram, President and Owner of a recently opened dealership in Prince George, Virginia (just south of Richmond), Colonial Harley-Davidson. Having an extensive background with Ford Motor Company, his goal for this store was to become the best in the state. With encouragement and guidance from professionals at Harley-Davidson, his store was created from the ground-up, in harmony with the upgraded vision that is being encouraged at Harley-Davidson stores nationwide. As you may know, roughly half of the dealerships across the country are expanding to new or re-modeled facilities.


Their vision is designed to appeal to a new market of sophisticated buyers, and create desire, as technology qualifies the motorcycle as an enviable marvel. The face of the clientele is evolving, and the hardware of Harley-Davidson embraces all that technology has to offer. When it came time to decorate the store, Guy was in search of something unique. Modern digital offerings available in this day and age, specifically large format digital printing, make available alternatives that didn’t exist twenty years ago.


“We put digital wrap on the show trailer and the delivery truck,” he shares, “Digital prints, though competitively priced, left a lot to be desired. Color intensity is less than strong, and lifespan is certainly a concern. With Harley-Davidson motorcycles, quality paint and good artistic design is a large part of what we sell. I wanted high-quality imagery to connect the interior of the store to the historically-rich past of Harley-Davidson.” No better way exists to accomplish this, than with an artist that hand paints the traditional way. Hand painted sign, mural work and fanciful logos add a nostalgic flavor, imply longevity, and entertain the traffic flow in these artist-decorated facilities. Oftentimes situational artwork design solves a problem.


No better way exists to accomplish this, than with an artist that hand paints the traditional way. Hand painted sign, mural work and fanciful logos add a nostalgic flavor, imply longevity, and entertain the traffic flow in these artist-decorated facilities. Oftentimes situational artwork design solves a problem.


Let the artwork speak.
Starting with a specific vision, the right combination of images will relate the perfect, positive message to your customers. Add variety, animation, and exaggeration; and you have a combination that qualifies as entertainment. An artist with a penchant for color, perspective, and knowledge of interesting interplay of light and dimension can create a lively, one-of-a-kind image, rather than having to use the less vibrant Xerox copies that make up the mainstream of digital images available today.


With old-school tradesmen rapidly becoming scarce as hen’s teeth, as a result of the technology that has emerged in the past decade; the ability of having a vision that involves traditional creative output, and having access to an artist that is able to transform your ideas into a tangible image has been waning.



“We want our customers’ experience to be pleasant, enlightening, and fun.” Guy adds,

“The search continues to stimulate desire in our customers… the desire for more.”

“I found out about Letterfly and the murals he had created for Clinton Harley-Davidson in Clinton, Iowa.” Guy confided.



Gary Fuller of Clinton, Iowa, discovered Letterfly while vacationing with his wife at Lazydays RV in Florida where the artist’s studio is located. They commissioned Dave to put an eagle on the back of their Suburban SUV and were delighted with the result. Back in Clinton, Iowa, the old Harley-Davidson store had been in a corrugated metal building in an out-of-the-way location next to a bridge for years. H a r l e y - D a v i d s o n sought a new owner that would share their vision for the future. Fuller and family were poised, with everything in order, and the established owner was encouraged to sell. An impressive building in a prominent location became the new store.


After they acquired the dealership, their son Tim had the idea of asking Dave to paint an eagle clutching the Bar & Shield on the back of their motorcycle cargo trailer, while on another trip to Florida, that winter. Noticing the quality of the craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail that marked every piece of art that Letterfly produced, caused Gary to ask, “What would it take to get you to come to Iowa?” Gary’s question was inspired by his desire to have murals on the sides of the dealership. He wanted them to be perfect, eye-catching, and a credit to the community, as well as to the dealership.


When the artist arrived in Iowa, he noticed the new store had an unusual footprint. Traffic flow through the retail and service areas was awkward. Double gray metal doors were cold and terminal. Sign and mural work was created inside to effectively solve the travel patterns and to give the building a unique personality and ambience. By adding department names, logos, and slogans and, in one case, an airbrushed rendering of a Dakota scene complete with Mount Rushmore, the labyrinth became user-friendly for the first-time visitor. Interestingly, upon inspection, the Mount Rushmore scene has an unusual feature; the faces on the monument are the faces of the four Fullers that operate the store.


By far, the benchmark of all the artwork created at Clinton Harley-Davidson is the large exterior mural that greets visitors coming down the highway as they enter town. The mural is clearly visible from the road. Gary’s main desire was for a huge eagle with an enormous wingspan swooping out of the sky. The bird was superimposed over the name “Clinton” made with multi-colored letters. The bird shares a scenic background of farmland along with the Harley-Davidson Bar & Shield, all framed within a border on the block wall exterior of the store. The painting has become a favorite landmark for traveling bikers. As they pause at the store, many park their bike in front of the massive image and get their picture taken. The artist also created a Hawg farm design for Tshirts. Artwork adds to the fun both inside and outside of the store.


Another example, of how Letterfly artwork saved an awkward situation, took place at a newly renovated Harley-Davidson strip mall store in Terre Haute, Indiana. The dealer principal found a great piece of commercial property in proximity of the express way, in the middle of a premium-shopping mecca. Clarence Crow made the decision to remodel an existing building rather than build a new one. Interior walls were removed to create flow between what were once several individual shops. After bricking up the display window areas to improve the placement of inventory, the building facade was left uninviting. The owner found out about Letterfly, and asked his advice about options to make the façade more appealing. The artist created six murals for the front of Wabash Valley Harley-Davidson. The airbrushed depictions of a variety of bikers and their shiny steeds clearly communicate to passersby the function of the store and an important visual link to the upgraded attitude of customer service and dedication.


The grand opening of a newly refurbished Harley-Davidson store always starts with a party. Heartland Harley-Davidson in Burlington, Iowa, asked Letterfly to be in attendance at their kick off event. Their upscale expansion of an old K-mart building was finally complete. With Letterfly in the mix, the rock-n-roll, fun, and of course, food and drinks, had a free act with an element of creativity. Scoots were striped, flamed, and decorated during the two-day event; and the magic continued for several days afterwards. Bob and Jane Knoll are pleased to have supplied their clientele with this unique service and look forward to doing it again.


Mid-Ohio Harley-Davidson is party central for the Buckeye State. The artist was invited to pinstripe at a gathering that included the “Wall of Death” motordrome, rock and roll, and amber beverages. In addition to the usual services of the dealer complex, is a resident embroidery shop, leather upholstery shop, and other related vendor services, including a large picnic shelter and an exact replica of the original wooden building that William Harley and the Davidson brothers began building bikes in 1903, which was created as a unique photo opportunity for the visiting bikers. While at the store, he painted a retro-looking logo on an interior wall, and a request was made to duplicate the hand lettering on the door of the historic imitation of the original Harley-Davidson headquarters.


The first time the artist experienced the Memories Museum , the nicely displayed collection of regional antique vehicles, world war motorcycles and collectables that chronicle the history of making motorcycles for over a century, at Laugerman’s Harley-Davidson in York , Pennsylvania he made a decision on the spot. At the end of the museum was a bike with some retro graphics displayed in front of the back wall that had “Motorcycle Art” crudely spray painted with a rattle can. Finding this inclusion awkward among the otherwise tastefully displayed artifacts, the artist visualized an improvement. Later that year at his studio in Florida he stretched a large piece of canvas and began to paint art that would showcase the imagery typical to the biker culture; an old school pinstripe design, flames, a skull, a flying eyeball and the words “Motorcycle Art” in a letter style popular among bikers. When complete, the piece of art was donated to the Laugerman family and is now proudly on display at their museum.  


Killer Creek, Thunder Creek, and Mountain Creek Harley-Davidson is a chain of three stores operated by a single management group. A desire for three oil paintings for the corporate headquarters that depict the unique personalities of the stores has been communicated to the artist. The artwork will hang in a prominent place at the main office and become a focal point and a visual key to their mission. Becoming immersed at these stores to capture the unique flavor will take place this fall while participating at several events, One being “The Trail of Tears” in September. True versatility as an artist is evident with the range of creative offerings available. “Finding out about Letterfly, and his willingness to travel to render spectacular work prompted my interest” Guy Bertram continues, “I emailed to ask if he would travel to my store and develop some original ideas to decorate our retail sales area, service foyer, and guest lounge.”


“Finding out about Letterfly, and his willingness to travel to render spectacular work prompted my interest”
Guy Bertram continues,
“I emailed to ask if he would travel to my store and develop some original ideas to decorate our retail sales area, service foyer, and guest lounge.”




“Letterfly came to look over the store in October 2005” he adds, “and immediately had a plethora of ideas for images
that would provide a sense of entertainment to elevate the ambience of the recent construction.
The work was to begin the following spring, and be complete in time for the summer riding season.”


This Harley-Davidson store is brand- new, built from the ground-up, completed three years ago. Everything is massive. The atmosphere, as you enter through the main entrance, makes an impression due to its sheer magnitude. The ultra-high ceiling is filled with industrial beams, v e n t i l a t i o n ductwork, electrical conduits, and hanging track lighting, that remind the visitor of an airport. The architect devised a method to utilize the three main support columns to place a decorative geometrical element overhead. Designed to interrupt the cavernous expanse are three architecturally rendered “clouds.” The three clouds are, in essence, large cylinders seemingly hovering as if tethered, and place a decorative substrate in the middle of the large expanse between the high ceiling and the floor.



“I wanted artwork to greet the guests when they came through the door,” says Guy, who commissioned a total of seven paintings,

“Letterfly took my ideas and developed them into entertaining works of art that support the motorcycling premise and culture.”




From the beginning, everything about this job was big. The preconceptual development sketches grew into a massive mountain of paper. While wading through books filled with vintage images, the artist reviewed a multitude of references for the drawings of murals to come. After several exploratory ideas were considered, the themes for each area were selected.


Eagles are My Specialty


With an army base nearby, a patriotic mural was the natural choice to greet the visitor when they enter the store. Having painted hundreds of eagle murals on motor homes, the artist has many different eagles memorized. Letterfly has created images of eagles flying over mountaintops, lighthouses, the New York skyline, pristine pastures, deserts, ocean scenes of all types (with and without a fish in their talons), and horse farms; and eagles with portraits of Jesus in various attitudes, and with scriptural references, and… the list goes on and on. Careful attention to larger-than-life detail was easy as the artist painted an eagle head eight feet across. Minute details, such as the linear pattern in the cornea of the eye, along with the subtle reflection of light, all contribute to the life-like depiction that now commands the attention of everyone that enters the main entrance to the store. What a better manner to convey the fierce awareness and hunting prowess; validate admirable coupling habits that the biker culture shares with our national mascot; and create a feeling of dedication and patriotism; than combining these images with the majesty of the Red, White, and Blue.


  Now, upon entering the front entrance of the store into the retail area, the customer is not only greeted verbally at the front reception desk, but also visually greeted by images of larger-than-life eagles in a patriotic setting on the first large cylindrical cloud.


A visual connection with the past subtly implies longevity. The perfect premise for images in a building that is only three years old is to connect the viewer with the rich history of Harley- Davidson. The central cloud at Colonial Harley-Davidson does just that. It features scenes from the romantic era of motorcycling that began over one hundred years ago. Above the floor filled with new bike inventory is a proud, grinning motorcyclist in period garb that greets the viewer on what would now be an antique bike. The scenic artwork that flanks him and wraps completely around the cylindrical canvas is filled with other lifelike depictions with motorcycles with riders, caught in poses of classic repose and romance. Not only do the images support the premise that motorcycling has famously brought couples together, but it is rich in the details of retro fashion and wardrobe, hairstyles, and hat-wear; along with state-of-the-art, for that day and age, Harley-Davidson motorcycles.


The third cloud sits prominently over the performance bikes in the showroom, directly in front of the retail parts & accessories counter. A fitting scene, to remind shoppers of another segment of Harley-Davidson history, is racing. Flattrack racing with a hot shoe is easily the most spectacular, and the dustiest, of the
often-dangerous sports that involve Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Perhaps, some would argue, it was the hill-climb event, or the motocross, or… Anyway, the depictions of all these noisy activities combine with handsome terrain to provide another entertaining facet to the rich visual history of Harley-Davidson on display.


What better way to convey the heart pounding, adrenalinpumping thrill of motorcycling than with a runaway bike busting through the wall. Behind the third cloud, above the parts & accessories counter, Letterfly designed and painted a high performance Fat boy motorcycle with biker, literally bringing the “outside in.” That is the theme of the most animated of all the murals created here. The husband of one of Colonial’s F&I managers posed for the photographic reference for this painting. Points of perspective were taken into consideration, and exaggerated, along with dramatic foreshortening, to make the image spectacular. The inclusion of a Tricorn hat provides a connection between the name Colonial and this historically rich part of the country.


The service foyer was next. The interesting configuration of counters and doorways, under a twenty-five foot ceiling, with ductwork and track lighting, was quite bland with its coat of industrial gray. The artist took into consideration the function of the entrance, and introduced, not only color, but also an element of envy for the performance enthusiasts, by adding entertainment to the design. Painted artwork brought the cold but cozy area to life.


And now, when you enter through the service door, the bright Harley-Davidson orange and black color scheme clearly announces and indicates that the service starts here. Directly above the service advisor’s counter on an overhanging wall is the word “genuine” in a retro sodascript followed by “service” in romanstyle lettering. Over the area to the left, that leads into the lounge area is the “Screaming Eagle” logo. Above the double glass doors that lead into the technicians’ garage area, a mirrored-image eagles’ wings, along with a spoked wheel logo, from the PHD mechanics’ certification diploma has been replicated with perfection. But that is not all.


When the building was being planned, the Dyno room was strategically placed with a picture window, so patrons could watch as their V-twin was finely tuned. The large blank wall around the window needed something special to emphasize this service. A drag-racing scene was created and surrounds the Dyno room picture window, complete with an audience in the seats. The starting line has a Christmas tree partially obliterated by a smoky cloud generated by an exact depiction of the Harley-Davidson drag bike as a trajectory screaming down the track.


Flagpoles with orange flags flapping in the breeze are painted, starting from behind the grandstand and standing tall to occupy the otherwise bland vertical area made by the high ceiling. In the middle of this vast area above the race scene is the “Wall of Fame.” A four-by-eight panel has been erected to honor the Harley-Davidson owners with top performance accomplishments. The idea was the brainchild of the artist, designed to promote envy amongst the customers and stimulate interest in performance products and services. Every year, an additional name will be added for the Sportster and Big-Twin category.


As the verbal virtual tour continues from the service foyer area… enter the customer lounge. In the waiting area, guests pause for refreshment. A gray roll-up door was cold in this otherwise warm area, and had presented a decorating problem for the staff. The answer was clear to the artist; Paint a mural on it. An inviting mountain scene with a rolling highway meandering off into the distance to points unknown is now the perfect setting for the customers who were waiting for their bikes, or just taking a break from riding. Inspired, they can now dream about thundering off into the sunset. Images, such as this, provide pure entertainment for the customers and guests, as well as fortifying the premise of understanding their purpose with this culture.


With the mural work in Virginia complete, the artist will now travel to a new location to solve another challenge with paints and brushes in-hand. Letterfly may very well qualify as a sleuth, healer, an entertainer, and an encourager, in addition to being an artist, adept with paint, always finding an artistic remedy, or, in other words,


a cure for the common store.





In addition to being adept as a traditional brush-painting pictorial artist, Old School pinstriper, airbrush muralist, gold leaf gilder, lettering man and creator of high quality custom paint of all kinds, Letterfly is also a teacher and educator who enjoys hosting an entertaining seminar entitled “Rolling Art,…Why a Mural?” This venue is where the artist enlightens HOG chapter members, interested novices, and other aficionados about the experience of having and creating decorative paint on a variety of vehicular substrates. Dave Knoderer also explains various aspects of custom paint and answers questions from those mildly interested in paint options, professionals, and do-it-yourselfers in need of direction and encouragement. Many patrons enjoy this opportunity to learn about this interesting facet of the motorcycling culture.


HOG newsletter editors in search of interesting content are welcome to download enlightening columns, humorous anecdotes and use Letterfly clipart to enhance the appearance of their printing projects and event posters. The Q&A articles are created for those with paint related questions and provide a service to those that have and maintain motorcycle paint and includes an email address so the readership can sendthe artist questions for future articles. This service is free.


Here's where you can find out more:
LetterflyPinstriping.com / Travelog.Letterfly.com / Letterfly.com