While we typically do not circulate minutes of our membership meetings, I wanted to make an exception this time due to the significance of our discussion last night. Additionally, recognizing that not all members were able to attend the meeting, sharing the minutes becomes even more important to ensure everyone is informed.
The meeting last night was of utmost importance, focusing on recent communications with our sponsoring dealership, Mississauga Harley-Davidson. We discussed proposed changes that are currently underway or in consideration and many of you gave us very important feedback to take back to the dealership for further discussion and clarification.
Milton H.O.G. will undergo a name change and transition to Mississauga H.O.G., a name that better represents Mississauga Harley-Davidson’s identify and values. MH-D has formally requested this change and it has received approval from both Harley-Davidson Canada and our Regional H.O.G. Director, Debbie Ford. It will be effective by the end of February 2024.
The proposed name change will undoubtedly impact our Chapter's marketing and promotion, as well as the identification rockers worn by our members. The dealership has recommended providing new rockers at their expense, suggesting a one-to-one replacement for each existing rocker. While this approach ensures consistency, we acknowledge the concerns raised by some members who possess multiple vests or jackets, making the transition more challenging and incurring associated costs. We intend to communicate these concerns to the dealership, seeking a more flexible solution that accommodates our member's needs. Nonetheless, we must address the dealership's legitimate concern about discontinuing the use of old rockers. Let me assure you that your feedback on this matter has been heard and we are working to find a practical solution to this matter.
Official Location of Mississauga H.O.G. will be at the dealership.
This is not a change for us. Our official address and location have consistently been based at our sponsoring dealership. Therefore, there is no issue at all with this arrangement.
Management of chapter website, activities, editor, and photographer
Mark Fawcett wants a closer relationship with our chapter and as such he has proposed the involvement of their marketing representative, Ms. Minnie Kaur to work in tandem with Carol-Ann Vance, our activities officer, and our webmaster Richard Woon. The aim is to facilitate better coordination, ensuring a seamless integration of dealership and Chapter efforts at events. Details on this collaboration have yet to be worked out. One concern we might have, is the high turnover of staff at the dealership, so we need to make sure that we are always aware and have a say in the marketing communications and planning of activities, which Mark Fawcett acknowledges.
Another change involves our chapter's website. The dealership is suggesting the integration of our Chapter and its information into the dealership's website. I do believe this is good for the chapter and will ensure that we are well represented and have a say in the content. There is much discussion to have on this matter, meanwhile, we will maintain our own communications through direct email, WhatsApp, dedicated calendar of rides and activities as well as an online presence through our dedicated Facebook page. This allows us to maintain our individual communications, and event planning and will continue, ensuring our chapter's presence with our members.
It is important to emphasize that these proposed changes do not diminish our autonomy in self-promotion or event planning. Rather, they are intended to maintain our chapter's control and focus on our objectives whilst strengthening our partnership with our dealership. Once again, detailed discussions will follow to ensure clarity and consensus on the specifics of this adjustment.
The dealership is suggesting three additional subgroups within the chapter. These being new writers, charity events, and women riders of Hog (LOH). I did inform Mark Fawcett that these are already covered by our chapter. This is something that will be an ongoing discussion with the dealership. The dealership has not articulated what is meant by these three new subgroups groups. This will be an ongoing discussion to clarify.
Moving forward, ongoing discussions with the dealership will aim to establish clarity regarding all these proposed changes. Our goal is to ensure a mutually beneficial understanding and alignment between the dealership's suggestions and our chapter member objectives.
Mississauga H.O.G. Rewards Program.
This program serves as a replacement for the existing 10% discount, which is no longer available to members and has already been phased out by several Canadian dealerships. MH-D’s new rewards program is a buy-in initiative costing $379 per year, per member and comprehensive details of the program have already been distributed to all members. More details on this program will follow.
Given concerns raised about this suggestion, I have been actively seeking additional clarity on the matter, including and in collaboration with our Regional H.O.G. Ontario Director, the details of the new Canadian H.O.G. program and how it will complement or replace all dealership loyalty programs across the country. This is a topic that we will continue to discuss and explore and will keep you apprised of developments.
The dealership has expressed a desire for some of our Chapter rides to depart directly from MH-D, a suggestion we are open to implementing. While this does not imply that every ride must originate from the dealership, the objective is to strive for an increased number of our major rides to commence from there. To be sure, this will not impact our Sunday rides too much if at all. What is likely to be is to have some weekday evening short (ice cream, cafe) rides and quite possibly some Saturday rides leaving from Mississauga HD.
Currently, our executive and member meetings take place at Ned Devine’s. MissHD is now offering to host our meetings at the dealership. They also propose holding “bike-night” events, providing updates from various staff, and addressing any questions members may have about the dealership, its respective programs and/or any concerns with the members are having with their bike. E.g. a Q and A session with one of their service technicians could be part of our meetings.
In addition, the dealership has offered to facilitate food arrangements for our meetings, although alcoholic beverages are not included as corporate policy. To address this, they are willing to explore potential discounts at a local restaurant for those interested in enjoying a beverage before or after the meeting if we are open to having some of our meetings at the dealership. In my perspective, a strategic approach could involve hosting a few meetings at the dealership while maintaining our regular monthly location at Ned Devine’s or elsewhere. Alternatively, we could do winter meetings somewhere and summer meetings/bike/BBQ nights at the dealership. This approach seems like a win-win, offering variety and fostering a stronger connection between MH-D and our Chapter.
Your executive team recognizes and understands your concerns and assure you that we are working on your behalf to make these changes a smoothly as possible, whilst closely aligning our objectives with those of our dealership to ensure a win-win scenario.
We believe these changes are a move in the right direction and mutually beneficial. By closely aligning ourselves with our dealership, our chapter will grow, giving us greater visibility and ability to increase our activities. I truly hope we all share this perspective.
As your Chapter Director, my primary focus is on serving the membership. I am open and available to engage in conversations with any members who wish to express their opinions, be they positive or negative, about these changes. Our Regional H.O.G. Director, Debbie Ford, is also available and can be reached at [email protected].
Your input and feedback are especially important to us and will impact our direction going forward.
Alex Vassallo, Milton H.O.G. Director