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Harley dealer rolls into town

Move to Castaic planned in 3 to 5 years

Posted: July 6, 2009 4:17 p.m.
Updated: July 7, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Jacob Meyer, of Valencia, admires his brand new, custom-made Harley-Davidson Street Glide motorcycle he purchased Friday afternoon. A new Harley-Davidson dealership opened on Centre Point Parkway on June 19 after spending more than four decades in the San Fernando Valley.

 
There's a whole lot of horsepower behind the walls of 21130 Centre Pointe Parkway.

After more than four decades in the San Fernando Valley, Van Nuys Harley-Davidson made the move to Santa Clarita last month, opening June 19 as Old Road Harley-Davidson.

The 24,000-square-foot shop houses several long rows of gleaming, hulking motorcycles, as well as a service garage and a section devoted to apparel, accessories and parts.

The dealership has a staff of 20 full-time workers and about four part-time employees, General Manager Doug Maguire said. He added about 50 percent of the staff lives locally.

The move was mandated by Harley-Davidson in 2003, Maguire said. He said the company had fielded numerous inquiries about opening a dealership in the Santa Clarita area.

Centre Pointe Parkway isn't the final stop for Maguire's dealership.

Within three to five years, he said, the plan is to open a 50,000-square-foot store - with a standalone 9,000-square-foot restaurant - on four acres near the Castaic Sports Complex.

Harley-Davidson prefers its dealerships to be located near or next to major freeways, Maguire said.

"People might not buy a motorcycle but they'll stop in and buy a shirt," he said. "This is an extremely iconic brand.

"It would behoove us to be off (Interstate 5)."

Plans for the new location are in low gear primarily because of the recession, Maguire said.

When the economy was strong, he said the dealership moved about 500 bikes a year - a number that has since dropped.

When hard times hit, he said, luxury items like a Harley cycle become a less frequent purchase.

Harley-Davidson cycles range in price from a low end of about $8,000 to upwards of $30,000 for a bike in the limited-production Screamin' Eagle line.

The demographics of Harley owners are "all over the place," Maguire said, and added that women have become one of the company's biggest markets.

Old Road Harley is holding off on a grand opening celebration until September, Maguire said, as a tie-in with the announcement of Harley-Davidson's 2010 product line.

Maguire, 49, said he's been a longtime rider, and cruises on a 2007 Street Glide.

"The product is very continually appealing," he said of Harley's enduring attraction. "It's extremely reliable and it just feels good because it's American."

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