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06 Feb 12 Small business notes: Harley to offer leasing program – The News

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Chrome Capital, a new, Naples-based finance firm, has struck a deal with Scott Fischer Enterprises to offer Chrome’s TestRide-brand leasing program at Fischer’s Naples and Fort Myers Harley-Davidson dealerships.

This allows qualified customers to lease a new or a used Harley motorcycle from the Fischer dealerships for two or three years. At the end of the term, the customer may purchase the bike, renew the lease or return the bike to the dealer.

I was surprised to learn Harley-Davidson dealerships didn’t already have a leasing program. This really is something new, according to Peter Wasmer, Chrome Capital president.

“We’re focusing exclusively on providing leases for Harley-Davidson dealerships,” Wasmer said.

Since his company ( formed last year, it has signed up dealers from Florida to New Jersey. The company aims to serve the top 200 Harley dealers by year-end.

Making leasing an option, Wasmer said, is a win for all.

For the dealer, it means additional sales. That’s because leasing will make customers of people under-served by traditional finance products, Wasmer said.

It is not unusual for a rider to want to trade-up to a better-equipped bike after two or three years: However, with a conventional loan, the outstanding balance often is too high. Also, leasing makes for easier-to-handle monthly payments — a definite plus for recession-weary Southwest Floridians.

Wasmer also expects the leasing program will coax more graduates of Harley’s Rider’s Edge classes for novice motorcyclists into lease and sales.

After the training, the idea of spending $15,000 to $20,000 for a basic Harley “is very daunting” to some of those new riders, Wasmer said. The TestRide leasing program will give them time to assess whether the lifestyle and the bike are right for them.

Business contests

At least two major national merchants Wal-Mart and Staples are targeting small businesses through contests this season:

Wal-Mart’s “Get on the Shelf” contest has similarities to “American Idol,” but instead of a recording deal, offers a chance for any business or entrepreneur to get their product sold on and in stores.

Contestants must create videos describing their inventions. The public will determine the winners through online voting.

Wal-Mart is accepting submissions until Feb. 22. Online voting will occur in March and early April. Winners will be announced at the end of April.

Learn more at

Meanwhile, free advertising is the carrot for Staples’ “Give Your Small Business the Push It Needs” contest.

To be in the running, businesses must submit to Staples’ Facebook site a 15-second video about their company.

Five winners will be chosen to receive 15 seconds of advertising in a 30-second Staples TV ad to run in their local market. Each prize is valued at $50,000, or $40,000 in advertising, plus $10,000 in cash.

Learn more at

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