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B-B-Bad To The Loan

Rough roads ahead have you fearing a loan default? Here are some ways to bargain with your banker.

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This story appears in the February 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When Mike Schwartz, 40, walked into an ailing Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership in 1992, he could smell the opportunity. The dealership was located in a part of Wilmington, Delaware, that had seen better days. And when he was told the bike he ordered would take two years to arrive, it was clear service was a problem. Management, a throwback to an era that owed more to the racing circuit than the business circuit, didn't seem to have its heart in the business anymore. Schwartz told the owner to contact him if he ever wanted to sell.

Two years later, in the winter of 1994, Schwartz got a call from the owner, who was ready to unload the business. Schwartz bought the company, which consisted of a note from the seller and about $300,000 in equipment and inventory, for less than $1 million. Working as both owner and general manager,Schwartz returned the dealership to robust health within a year and a half, a period during which the Harley nameplate enjoyed a popular resurgence.

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