Ginger Misch, one of Harley-Davidson of Valparaiso’s most beloved employees, has been working at the store for 21 years, yet she still remembers the first time she walked through those doors.
Misch had managed restaurants for many years but was ready for a change.
“I was nervous, but as soon as I got to talking with customers - who I still chat with at the store to this day - I felt at home. I walked into what would quickly become a little family,” Misch said.
It’s one of the main things Misch loves about her position as MotorClothes® Manager.
“I come to work every day excited to see returning faces and meet new customers,” Misch said. “Harley-Davidson has the most unique customer base you’ll ever come across. They are extremely charitable, helpful, and passionate. People will come into the store just to say hello because they haven’t seen me in a while.”
Misch also has witnessed traveling motorcyclists who have made a point to stop into the store during a long-distance run.
“Bikers from California, New York, Michigan… they always make a point to stop at our Valpo store,” she said. “They’ve become my extended family.”
Misch mainly oversees the store’s purchasing, which includes apparel, special orders, and most importantly, helping customers choose the perfect product for whatever they may need.
“I first try to get to know their riding habits in order to best suit their needs – how often and how far they usually ride, what kind of weather they’ll be riding in, and everything in between,” Misch said. “I work to ensure that they will have a pleasurable riding experience. I’m extremely passionate about this.”
From time to time, some of Harley-Davidson’s licensed vendors, including Vanity Fair, will reach out to Misch for her ideas and suggestions regarding clothing designs.
“It means a lot to me that my opinion is valued in this way,” she said.
Though Misch loves to get involved with some of Harley’s clothing designs, she sometimes puts pressure on herself during the process.
“Someone I was working alongside at Vanity Fair once said it best: ‘When people are willing to tattoo Harley-Davidson symbols on their bodies, you know that they will be a fan for life. You can physically see how passionate they are about the brand,’” Misch recalled. “This puts some pressure on designing for our customers because I want them to love everything we put out, but it also motivates me to do my best work.”
Helping customers shop is a special experience that Misch holds near her heart.
“I always want customers to come into the store to shop so that they can get the full experience of Harley-Davidson. It just puts you in a different mode when you walk through our doors,” Misch said. “I’ve gotten to see so many customers just light up when they come to shop. It’s nothing like the face you make when you have to go grocery shopping, it’s more like getting to go shoe shopping. It’s such a personal experience.”
With the holiday season approaching, Misch has been busy gearing up the Valparaiso store and said she always is thinking about her customers and what they might like to see under their trees.
“I’ve had people tell me in the past that it’s always a very ‘Ginger Christmas’ in their homes, and that makes me feel good because I do work hard to get to know my customers and learn their preferences in order to help them pick out the perfect gifts for their family members and loved ones.”
And how does she keep track of everyone’s preferences? Misch thinks of the process as categorizing different pairs of shoes.
“You have your flare-y, flashy shoes, sleek shoes, every-day comfy shoes, etc.,” Misch said. “I just try to fit people into a different shoe, and I tend to remember what they like this way.”
Though busy, the holiday season is unbeaten in Misch’s eyes.
“The holiday season is one of my favorite parts of my job. I get to see customers and their families that I usually don’t see very often, everyone’s in a great mood, we decorate the shop, and have fun events planned,” she said.
One of those events includes VIP Ladies Night, happening at the Valpo store on November 22.
In her free-time, Misch enjoys spending time with her two little grandbabies.
Misch encourages community members to stop into the Harley-Davidson Valparaiso regardless of if they own a motorcycle.
“You’ll never know what you’re missing until you try it, and it’s kind of a bucket list thing to check off,” Misch said. “Stop in and see us!”
For more information about Harley-Davidson of Valparaiso, visit their website at https://www.hdvalpo.com/.