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Archive for July 20th, 2021

We all love our rides, but what about the dealers?

If you wander into the forums, they are full of comments ranging from the good, the bad and even the ugly.

Dealers stared into the teeth of COVID-19, mixed it up with the motor company’s revenue declines, layoffs, reduced bike inventory to bolster prices, which was followed by several dealers closing down including some Bar & Shield Circle of Achievement Award dealers, permanently.

We all know it’s been a tough 14-months and that includes every Harley-Davidson dealer along with their employees.

Adding to all of this, was corporate Harley-Davidson throwing out more strategy changes (“wired”) than I change my socks.  And when corporate management dictate the “We know what is best in/for your showroom” requirements — you know how it goes, all the risers need to be symmetrical, with the right merchandise on each one, perfectly priced, labeled, and “faced” toward the customer — the dealership owner has the choice to largely accept them or not.  If they don’t accept them, then the “widget guys” from Milwaukee can say … “No soup for you!

That’s when those inspirational corporate quotes like: “You’re here by the grace of your lineage” start to sound like marketing for the early Pilgrims.

But, I’ve digressed.

Be it clothing, parts or motorcycles, Paradise Harley-Davidson, has continued to provide what customers want. From the owner to the staff folding t-shirts and everyone in-between, they are part of our Northwest motorcycle community and they interact with us on a daily basis, selling the experience of coming to the dealership as much as of riding itself.

17-Year Anniversary Celebration

You might not recall, but it was not long ago when Harley-Davidson management forced, via franchise contracts, that dealers significantly upgrade or move and open up large “mega stores” on an interstate exit.  The corporate ethos was larger is better and location, location, location!  This mandate alone had a lot to do with dealers selling or going under in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

The Paradise dealership has its roots grounded in Beaverton, Oregon, a small 7,000-square-foot store.  The store was mandated by its franchise “relationship” with Harley-Davidson to upgrade, however, they were in a very tight geographic footprint on SW Farmington Road.  If you lived or traveled through the heart of Beaverton you know that it meant only one thing — relocating to a new store. The then current owner determined that a new store was way too much to take on and decided to sell the dealership.

Slo-mo ‘Glider’ Wheelie (Note: Hosted on my Google site)

At the time, Ed Wallace who previously was with PACCAR, where he was a General Manager in the Kenworth Truck division was now one of America’s most successful and decorated Harley-Davidson dealers.  Wallace purchased the Tacoma dealership (Destination Harley-Davidson) in partnership with son, Ed Jr., and daughter, Christy, in 1995.  The Tacoma facility went from 7,000 to 50,000 square feet and is located just off I-5. Then in 1997, he acquired the Harley outlet in Silverdale, Washington. Christy was the majority owner of the Silverdale store and planned every detail of the expansion. Going from a 3,000-square-foot converted gas station on Silverdale Way to the newly constructed 20,000-square-foot $3 million building.

Having success in developing the motorcycle business and constructing large, multi-million dollar facilities, Ed Sr., purchased the Beaverton Harley dealer in 1999, and moved it to a new 30,000-square-foot Tigard facility, which Ed Wallace, Jr. managed.  Ed Jr., married his sweetheart from the Tacoma area and after 3+ years of running the Tigard facility, wanted to return to Tacoma.  As I recall, Ed Sr., had fully retired from the business by then, and Ed Jr., put the Tigard dealership on the market when Mike Durbin stepped in and bought it in 2004.  The name was changed to Paradise Harley-Davidson and the rest as they say is history.

Bike wash and Durbin in the Dunk Tank

On a local level, I like supporting small(er) businesses, vs. the mega-destination dealers i.e. Timpanogos in Lindon, Utah, which is one of the largest dealerships in the U.S. at 58,000 square-feet.  In my opinion, Paradise H-D has a loyal following and always a great place to visit, as they have something going on all the time. I’ve enjoyed and been working with Mel in the parts department since the good ‘ol Beaverton days! The staff gets to know the people that bought from them and for service you are never just a number that they need to get through the system! Don’t get me wrong, I still swallow HARD at some of the service pricing, but my personal experiences are of good people, good service and being treated fairly.

This past weekend Paradise H-D celebrated their 17th Anniversary.  I stopped to partake along with a few hundred or more other enthusiasts. They put on a great social event with a beer garden, live music, dunk tank, bikini bike wash, games, door prizes and more for their clientele.  What I really like is that no one talks about what you do for a living. They talk about what and where you ride.

Congrats Paradise H-D on 17-years as a standout dealership!

Glider movie and Photos taken by the author except for logo photos courtesy of Paradise H-D.

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