COMPETITION Distributing, which was established in 1969, specializes in the design and manufacture of high performance products, prototyping, pattern design, investment castings, and replacement motor and chassis parts for pre ‘36 Harley-Davidsons.The business was started by Lonnie and Marianne Isam in Houston, Texas, before relocating to Sturgis, South Dakota in 2005.
“After 34 years in the motorcycle business in Texas and going to the Sturgis Rally for 25 of those years, the Black Hills became part of our life,” says Lonnie Isam.“As time went by,we started to shift our business from retail to manufacturing and mail order. Our mail order business grew to over 1,000 products that we make inhouse. It did not take long to realize that Sturgis was in the middle of the USA and we did not need a retail store anymore. Basically, we were ready for a lifestyle change.
“Now we have a 5,000+ sq ft building with over 1,400 products and have just built a new 6,500 sq ft shipping and receiving building. We have found the business climate in South Dakota is very friendly.We built our house on the edge of the Black Hills National Forest, which makes for a nice back yard and just a 10 minute commute to the shop.” Lonnie continues, “Our business is better, our stress is gone, our taxes are lower, we ride more, and, once a year we reunite with all our friends in the motorcycle industry during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.”
The move to Sturgis from Houston for Competition Distributing was easy due to the ability to find skilled employees in the Black Hills area thanks to the proximity of Western Dakota Tech, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, and Black Hills State University.
It is not just the availability of skilled staff that made the business decision to move easy for Lonnie and Marianne Isam of Competition Distributing (www.competitiondist.com), there were also significant financial incentives. As a direct result of the move, the company found it had no corporate income tax, no business inventory tax, no personal property tax, no personal income tax and no inheritance tax. Lonnie and Marianne can keep more of what they make. According to Lonnie, their cost of living in Sturgis is 25% less than in Houston. They can reinvest it in their business, or use it to play in their new lifestyle.
“Free to Profit. Free to Play.”is not just a slogan when you move your business to Sturgis, SD. Now Lonnie is repaying Sturgis for the benefits his business has received by sitting on the Board of Directors of the Sturgis Economic Development Corp., where he is also a member of the Executive and Property Committees.