By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal
CORINTH – Vehicles from Lakehill Motors have been sold across the globe.
“We sold to a team of scientists that took (an ATV) to Antarctica,” said co-owner Dan McLemore. “They told us, ‘It will never come home.’”
Added co-owner Dwayne McLemore, “We have people from Europe come here, get a bike, tour the country, crate it up and send it back to Europe.”
The almost 50-year old business sells everything from scooters to personal watercraft to kid-size ATVs.
But Dwayne’s real passion is for motorcycles. He’s been collecting antique motorcycles for about 20 years. He has about 150 bikes.
He used to race them and says his 4-year-old grandson is a natural at motocross.
The store has been selling bikes for years, but it’s the antique motorcycle museum that makes Dwayne’s eyes twinkle.
In 2004, he opened the museum inside the store as a way to showcase his collection. Admission is free.
“A lot of people come here just for that,” Dwayne said. “Most of the museum bikes are original riders. Some have had restoration. Some haven’t.”
The collection has grown to about 120 bikes, with additional display space on a secondary level.
The earliest bike is a 1911 Model H Pope. Also on display is a rare 1968 Honda that’s never been cranked or ridden on the road. It’s racked up a paltry 2.5 miles, all from being rolled around the floor.
“Everything in here runs except the Pope,” Dwayne said.
He even drove a 1917 Cleveland A-2 to Tupelo last year for an antique bike rally.
The newer motorcycles and scooters are making a comeback, Dwayne said, thanks to high gas prices. The store sells a scooter that gets 130 mpg.
Overall, the store sells more ATVs than motorcycles.
“But we sell everything we’ve got,” Dwayne said.
Lakehill Motors also carries new generators, trikes, trailers and Yamaha Waverunners. Plus, it sells used and refurbished items.
The store, which carries the Honda and Yamaha brands, also sells helmets, jackets, parts and all the accessories for motorcycles.
‘Been here for a long time’
Dwayne and Dan’s father started the business in 1962. The company was at the top of a hill, and Liddon Lake was at the bottom.
There was a resort-like pool at Liddon Lake. Legend has it that it was the state’s largest pool for many years.
“Everybody knew where it was,” Dwayne said.
Plus, there was a riverboat called the Viking that was used for private parties.
The lake and the boat made good landmarks for people to find the business, Dwayne said.
The pool closed, but Lakehill Motors remained. The company grew over the years, going through three different buildings.
“We’ve been here for a long time,” Dwayne said. “We strive to give good business. We try to give the best possible deal we can give.”
The business also expanded into Starkville and Tupelo. The family eventually sold the Starkville store and closed the Tupelo store in the 1970s.
Lakehill Motors has a service department, but the bulk of the business is in sales.
The company has adapted well to the Internet age, launching a e-commerce site (LakehillMotors.com), a Facebook page (Lake Hill Motors) and a YouTube channel (lakehillmotors). Plus, the business is active on eBay and Craigslist, an online classified service.
Dwayne said that as the years have passed, there have been opportunities to be distracted by competitors. But it’s not a good business strategy, he said.
“Worry about your business,” he said. “You can’t worry about what your competition is doing.”
A successful business also requires the owners to be involved, he said.
“You can’t be afraid of work,” he said. “You can’t be afraid of long hours.”
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or firstname.lastname@example.org.