Success Story

Learn how The FISH! Philosophy helped this Harley-Davidson dealership substantially increase profits and become one of the top 100 power sports dealers in North America.

California Harley-Davidson/Buell

California Harley-Davidson/Buell (CHDB) is a 30-year old independent motorcycle dealership located outside Los Angeles, California. CHDB covers all the needs of motorcycle enthusiasts from parts to service to collectibles. The dealership has a 35,000-square-foot facility and more than 50 employees.


For years, president/general manager Mark Ruffalo has told his employees that what CHDB really sells is fun. Success is dependent on employees embodying the Harley-Davidson brand by having fun at work and with their customers—which contributes to employee retention and customer satisfaction. But at CHDB, the staff wasn’t working well across departments, employees weren’t sure how much fun was allowed and management was struggling to convey its message.


  1. Make CHDB an enjoyable place to work and shop.
  2. Improve customer satisfaction.
  3. Improve employee retention.
  4. Increase employee satisfaction.

FISH! Approach

After a presentation by ChartHouse Learning at the national Harley-Davidson Dealer Operations training event, Ruffalo knew The FISH! Philosophy was what his dealership needed. To introduce FISH!, management closed the dealership for a day and took all employees off-site. The day was spent learning the four practices of The FISH! Philosophy and discussing how to use it to improve their work and customer relationships.

Fresh FISH! Experiences

  • Every employee completing FISH! training receives a framed “Fishploma” for their desk. New hires are introduced to FISH! when they begin working at CHDB.

  • Customers who fill out a satisfaction survey spin a wheel for a chance at a prize valued at up to $400. Employees give each other tickets to recognize “fishy” behavior and employees whose tickets are drawn spin the wheel.

  • Management throws impromptu root beer float and sno-cone parties to celebrate an accomplishment or to recognize people working extra hard.

  • The dealership is decorated with several hundred fish-related items, including several 3’ x 5’ signs that hang from the ceiling.

  • The dealership has a cookout every Saturday from April through September for customers and employees. Many customers return just to hang out with the staff.

  • To strengthen relatiomships, the CHDB service manager takes his team out to breakfast once a week. Each week he invites a guest from a different department to join them.


  • Employee retention rates improved by almost 15 percent after FISH! was introduced.
  • The dealership saw a substantial profit increase after implementing FISH!
  • The dealership saw a substantial profit increase after implementing FISH!
    Before FISH!, CHDB ranked 120 out of 660 Harley dealerships on 30-day customer purchase experience surveys. After introducing FISH!, CHDB ranked 8 out of 660.
  • Before FISH!, CHDB ranked 481 out of 660 Harley dealerships based on 18-month customer

Dealer News, a key industry publication, named CHDB one of the top 100 power sports dealers in North America. CHDB’s use of The FISH! Philosophy was a part of their application for this recognition. They were only one of two Harley-Davidson dealerships in the state of California to receive this honor.

“FISH! has become a key part of how we do business and we’ll never go back. Our profits are up, our customer satisfaction has improved and we’re having a lot of fun. FISH! has a lot to do with all those things. The return on investment has been tenfold over just the impact on our bottom line.”

–  Mark Ruffalo, President/General Manager

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