Motorcycle shop owner fighting Sunday selling ban

By: Nick McGurk Email
By: Nick McGurk Email

There are some things you can’t buy on Sundays in Indiana: alcohol, cars, and motorcycles.

One local Harley Davidson dealer thinks the law against buying motorcycles is ridiculous, and he's teaming up with a state senator to change it.

Mark Forszt owns four Harley stores throughout the state, including one in Valparaiso and one in Michigan City.

He says the law is hurting his business, and that it makes no sense. On Sundays, he's open for business, and he can sell you everything you'd ever need to put a bike together yourself. He just can't actually sell you the bike.

Forszt says he knows his customers, and he knows how they buy.

"Sometimes they love their motorcycle more than they do their family," he said. “If a person walks in here on a Sunday and sees the motorcycle that really turns him on, he wants to buy it,” said Forszt.

Bike sales are down, on average, 27 percent from a year ago at this time at his four stores. Forszt says if he didn't have to put up orange tags on every bike that declare bike sales aren't allowed on Sunday, his overall sales numbers would be up.

“It's a huge loss to the state in terms of sales tax revenue. I'm not saying we would not have lost any sales if we could sell on Sunday, but I’m sure that we wouldn't be down as far as we are,” said Forszt.

Forszt contacted state Senator Ed Charbonneau, framing the issue as a way to help small business. When you add up all the sales tax, it’s also a way to help the state of Indiana, home to some 300 motorcycle dealerships, said Charbonneau.

“If every one of those dealerships sold one motorcycle a Sunday, or even one a month, that's a pretty sizable infusion of cash into the state coffers,” says Senator Charbonneau.

The bill to change the law has been drafted and filed, but until something changes, the Sunday choices in this store will be limited.

It is a class D misdemeanor to sell a motorcycle on Sunday.

What dealers like Forszt complain about is you could sell a bike through a newspaper, CraigsList, or eBay on Sunday, but in a store it's illegal.

Forszt and Senator Charbonneau are optimistic about the bill passing. They're hoping come January 5th, the bill moves through the system without controversy.

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