Culture Triumphing Through TrialsTriumph Indianapolis weathers the pandemic and is now thriving.
- Words & Images Matt Novak
On the 7th of February 2020, Paul Warrenfelt stepped foot into approximately a 50-year dream of opening his own Triumph dealership. Little to his or his fellow investors’ knowledge that the world was about to enter a nightmare rivaling the likes of the early 1900s. The novel coronavirus was about to ransack the world. The month before a pandemic would not be on Forbes’ list of Best Time to Start a Small Business, but chasing dreams rarely come with a well laid out blueprint.
Selling the dealership’s first motorcycle on a snow-covered opening day might have been the good omen Warrenfelt needed. Especially since the months of March and April yielded no sales. The pandemic came out strong in the first rounds, but Warrenfelt wasn’t about to throw in the towel on a life-long dream that easily. As if it was all according to plan, the month of May was a complete 180-degree shift. Sales took off, and by the end of the year the dealership sold roughly 60 Triumphs and 30 used motorcycles.
People were tired of being confined to their homes and wanted to travel. Motorcycles were a great option for travel and adventure.
Indianapolis was no stranger to the Triumph brand, but a void was left when a multi-brand dealer (Triumph included) decided to close a few years prior. In November of 2019, the “Best of British Tour” made a stop in Indianapolis. Triumph displayed they’re a premium brand with the upcoming 2020 models. The event piqued local’s interest about the upcoming dealership. The week after Triumph Indianapolis officially opened thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts descended upon the Indiana State Fairgrounds for the Indiana Motorcycle and Powersports Expo and provided some much-needed exposure for the one-week-old dealership. Likely an event that probably would have been shut down if it took place only one month later. After these two events, the only other marketing was good ol’ fashion word-of-mouth and the easily accessible world of social media. How did Triumph Indianapolis continue to grow amid a pandemic?
People were tired of being confined to their homes and wanted to travel. Motorcycles were a great option for travel and adventure. Further, there was a fresh glow radiating from Triumph Indianapolis. Triumph was back in Indy and people were excited! Triumph owners had a place to gather again, and new people fell in love with the charm of British machinery set within a 100-year-old building in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. The fact that the dealership shared a parking lot with the city’s largest brewery, Sun King Brewery, was a pleasant bonus. Warrenfelt’s dream was a reality, and it was felt by all who entered those doors.
Today Triumph Indianapolis is a flagship dealership crewed by seven full-time and two part-time employees with Warrenfelt setting the tone. His demeanor is laid back and inviting. He’s authentic and extremely fair to his customers. He’s done everything from laying tile, running electrical lines, mopping floors, installing accessories on new motorcycles, delivering bikes to customers multiple states away, working on his days off, and the list goes on. He sells motorcycles, but because he’s a Triumph enthusiast and collector himself, he doesn’t feel like a salesman. He genuinely loves Triumph motorcycles and wants others to experience the joy he has received from them over the past 50 years.
Triumph Indianapolis has continued to grow a loyal following and gain popularity over the past 2.5 years. In 2021, it received the Ton-Up award for selling over 100 new Triumphs along with the Top Dealer award for its region. 2022 is on pace to outperform the previous year. Cheers to following a dream, riding the wave, and coming out triumphant.