Dale Coyner’s office is decorated with photographs he took along some of the country’s most scenic highways. And the best way to see the country, he believes, is on the back of a motorcycle.
The Herndon resident has been riding motorcycles for 18 years. Since 1989, Coyner has packed up his bike and traveled to destinations as close as West Virginia, and as far as Montana. His latest project, a compact trailer store, makes road trips easy, he said.
When an opportunity arose to sell his Web media company, Coyner jumped at the chance to make a major career move. He and his business partner, David Paul, decided it was time to sell their company and move on.
"I drew up a plan for a new Web media company, but I couldn’t get excited about it," Coyner said. "One tech company was enough."
The IT man decided to start a business he could get his family in on.
Several months ago the motorcycle enthusiast launched Open Road Outfitters, a compact trailer vendor, in Dulles. Coyner said the trailers he sells are small enough to attach to motorcycles and small cars and make family travel fun and easy.
THE IDEA to enter the compact trailer business came after Coyner wrote his first book on motorcycle travel, "Motorcycle Journeys Through the Appalachians."
The book describes Coyner’s travels through the Appalachian Mountains, what to pack for a trip like that, and what to expect on the road.
"Every time I ride, there’s an opportunity to write a story," Coyner said. "And I always have my camera on me."
His love for riding motorcycles and trailering spurred the idea for a compact trailer business.
"Now I can get in on what I love," he said.
Coyner parks his metallic purple motorcycle in an garage attached to his office. The father of two brings his children in to the shop to help out and show them what he has in stock.
One thing Coyner didn’t like about his Web media company is that he couldn’t get his children in on the business.
"I couldn’t explain to them what I did. They didn’t understand it," he said.
Now, Coyner takes his son, Carl, 12, and daughter, Lydia, 9, to compact trailer events. His son takes notes during shows, asks for prices and compares them with his father at the end of the day.
"He’s catching on," Coyner said.
COYNER sells a variety of trailers, including a pet trailer and a pop-up tent trailer, which makes family travel cheap and easy.
The trailers, which range from $2,000 to $4,000, come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.
"Anyone can get their trailer custom painted to match their bike," Coyner said. "So we carry a lot of black and white."
Coyner’s trailers making lugging just about anything, including food, supplies, luggage, and the family pet, easy. Coyner has several pet trailers in stock at his shop. The pet trailers come equipped with ventilation windows and "doggy doors," the shop owner said.
Paul, who worked with Coyner for about six years, said the business leader knows how to prioritize his time.
Coyner’s No. 1 priority is his family. With this business, he said, he can spend more time with them and they can get excited about it in return.
"He has a strong sense of empathy, which serves him well in understanding employees, customers and vendors," Paul said. "He has a good sense of the other person."
THE COMPANY also plans to offer trailer rentals next year.
Trailer rentals are ideal for people who may only use a trailer a few times a year or do not have the storage space for one, Coyner said.
"They might want to test it out and see if they like it before they buy one," he said.
Open Road Outfitters is located at 45763 Elmwood Court, off of Cascades Parkway.