We caught up with Laura Thompson Barnes, Vice President of The Thompson Organization, to get her thoughts on the import role the Classic plays in the local community, as well as the Thompson Organization’s tremendous support for the race.
Why is the race special to Thompson as an organization?
It's all about giving back to the local community. It's an opportunity for Thompson as an organization to get our employees out on the street with customers, potential customers, neighbors, friends, really everyone, to say "thank you". Most people who walk into our dealerships or service centers see only a small fraction of our employees. They never see our accounting personnel, our internet staff, our service, detail or collision experts. So many of our employees are in the background. Today is the day they can shine and share the Thompson Difference in person. We support many causes throughout our community, the Bucks County Classic is the one time during the year for every employee to be involved and take part in this the biggest weekend in Bucks County.
The community really shows up big for the Classic weekend every year. Why do you think that is?
Truthfully, there's nothing else like it in the area. It's international cycling right at the front door. It's exciting. It's fun. It's family-oriented. So many people get together just once a year and it's due, in part, to the Bucks County Classic. They bring their dogs, their strollers, their grandparents, too. It's the first social event weekend after school starts. The first chance for the college kids to come home. It's the first event for the middle and high school students to get out and meet socially with their peers. From front yard parties to riding in the cyclosportif, the event draws people of all ages and abilities. It truly is a family-oriented, community event.
Lexus is a huge supporter of professional bike racing, Why?
Lexus made a commitment to the Bucks County Classic in 2011 well before their sponsorship of the USA Pro Challenge in 2014. Every year they add more events. In 2015, Lexus became the exclusive automobile partner of the Amgen Tour of California, America’s largest and most prestigious professional cycling race held in May. In 2016, they started a Memorial Weekend Gran Fondo, a luxury cycling and gourmet food weekend on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod, featuring world famous pro cyclists and equally famous chefs. We’re happy to see their support of active lifestyles continue. It's all about the demographics. Lexus equates with luxury, performance and success. The hallmarks of those who "have made it". They want a vehicle that fits their active lifestyle and also let's them enjoy the comfort, style and luxury they have earned. Cycling is a growing sport, both competitively and as a recreational lifestyle. Today's Lexus customer is active, travels and is likely a foodie, quite a departure from the traditional 50-something golfer.