The year was 1961. Ray and Phalista Bedeaux, along with 4 of the 5 Bedeaux brothers (Dale, Jerry, Mike and Oscar), had just moved from their hometown of Hazen, Pennsylvania to Minnesota. Their son Alvin joined them here several years later.
In 1970, Dale and the other Bedeaux Brothers had become friends with a man by the name of Leo Hauck, “the original Leo.” Dale was working for Leo and had owned a Motor Guzzi, Pirrella, Matchless, and ’67 Royal Enfield Motorcycle. Dale enjoyed cycling and as Leo was preparing to retire, he asked Dale if he had an interest in purchasing his shop. From that point on, the Bedeaux brothers would be in the motorcycle business! The two men agreed on a price and the paperwork was signed for Dale to purchase the Leo’s motorcycle dealership. Leo later retired to Arizona. As part of the original purchase agreement, the dealership was given a 1938 Indian and each year, “Leo” was allowed to pick out a new motorcycle of his choice. Oscar started working with Dale in 1970, Mike in 1971 and Jerry in 1972.
The original Leo’s Motorcycle Dealership carried Harley-Davidson®, Royal Enfield, Norton, and Moto Guzzi motorcycles, but you would also see Triumph, Bultaco, Ducati, and several others makes from England, Italy, and Spain at their shop. As a Norton dealer, the Bedeaux brothers were offered a deal; if they could sell over one hundred Norton’s in a year, they would win a trip to England to meet the famous Norton girls. They sold over 100 bikes, but never got the trip! Within 3 years though, and a lot of hard work, Leo’s became the world’s largest Norton motorcycle dealership!
Consumer demand led the Bedeaux brothers to open a second Leo’s store in 1977. They named it “Leo’s South” and located it in Lakeville, MN. Jerry and Oscar took out a second mortgage on their homes and became partners at the new Lakeville BMW/Kawasaki Shop. They opened their doors with 4 new BMW motorcycles, 2 used, and a couple of thousand dollars worth of BMW parts. They also introduced the Kawasaki product line at that time. The Bloomington Leo’s store added Suzuki to its line of products, too.
In the fall of 1977, Jerry and Oscar began to sell Polaris snowmobiles. The brothers were again presented a challenge: sell 50 Polaris snowmobiles and they would win a trip to France. They sold 60 new sleds. This time the manufacturer came through and awarded the prize for the trip and the Bedeaux brothers went to France!
The Bedeaux brothers continued to enjoy challenges and they proved to be good at meeting them. In 1978, Kawasaki presented yet another challenge: if they could sell 100 Kawasaki dirt bikes and enduros, Kawasaki would send them on a trip to the South Pacific! They met that goal and they enjoyed that trip, too, of course!
One of the funniest stories from the early days of Leo’s South was when the Norton factory reps came from England to visit their Leo’s store. The Bedeaux brothers offered their kind hospitality by taking the Norton reps for a snowmobile ride! They rode south for a couple of hours, crossing Lake Marion along the way. When they returned, the reps enthusiastically recounted their experience. They enjoyed the ride and commented about the funny, odd little village they had ridden past during the journey. Having little experience with northern winters, they didn’t know that what they had passed was a group of ice fishing houses and that they were riding on a frozen lake with up to 40 feet of water under them and the ice. They listened with unnerving disbelief as they found out where they had been and what they had actually seen. They laughed, but probably not as much as the Bedeaux brothers!
The Bloomington store remained open until 1982, when Dale and Mike sold that facility. Alvin and Mike would join Jerry at Leo’s South in 1994.
Late in December of 1992, Oscar died suddenly as a result of a tragic accident. Jerry became the sole dealer principle and with the help of his wife, Diane, their daughters Debbie and Sheri, and their sons Wayne and Randy, plus the rest of their staff committed to FUN and customer service, Leo’s South continued to grow.
Over these past years, many more lines were added to the variety of Leo’s South FUN, including Suzuki motorcycles and ATVs in 1991, the Bombardier line of Can-Am ATVs in 1999, Sea-Doo watercraft in 2001, Can-Am Spyder motorcycles in 2006, and recently, Can-Am Sport side x side UTVs. Aprilia motorcycles were added in 2000 and currently Leo’s is the only Aprilia dealer in the state of Minnesota.
Moto Guzzi motorcycles and the scooter lines from Vespa and Piaggio were added in 2006. In 2008, Leo’s became one of the first Minnesota dealers to add CFMOTO scooters and motorcycles. The CFMOTO all-terrain vehicles were added to Leo’s lineup of FUN in October of 2009.
In September of 2009, Jerry “officially retired” from the day-to-day operation of Leo’s South. Although he is no longer in the dealership every day, you will see him occasionally filling in for vacations and lending his experienced hands and mind during special events at the store. Jerry & Diane’s sons, Wayne & Randy purchased the dealership from their parents.
Leo’s South entered the new millennium with a 2nd and now 3rd generation of Bedeaux family members in the Leo’s South powersports business.
Jerry’s daughters, Debbie and Sheri run the administrative office.
Wayne’s wife, Brenda is the business manager. Wayne’s daughters are also involved. Katie is apparel manager and Jenny is in shipping and receiving.
Randy’s son, Nick, is a BMW master technician and Randy’s other son, Kent, is a certified service technician.
Jerry’s older brother, Alvin, does deliveries and his younger brother, Mike, still maintains a list of customers. Randy’s wife, Keri and cousin Dan Bedeaux are active in the sales department.
In all, there are 14 Bedeaux family members working at Leo’s South at this writing.
Our Leo’s South employee staff has grown to 22 and it swells to 26 during summer riding season. Every staff member is experienced, trained, and committed to serving our customers. After 40 years of Selling FUN, it’s the only way we know how to do business.