By Lisa Dalgaard
When I first met Tom Scott, owner of Anaheim Fullerton Harley-Davidson, I immediately recognized his genuine kindness and small town hospitality and knew he was the real deal. As easy going as he was though, I knew this was a man who gets what he wants.
Tom began his love affair with Harley-Davidson back in Pennsylvania where he owned his first Harley at 15. From then on, it was always Harleys, he never owned anything else. So, it seemed fitting that in 1966 he would fulfill his dream of owning his own shop with the purchase of Santa Maria H-D.
Although Santa Maria was a beautiful home, it was difficult running a business in a place known for farming and with a population of a few thousand people. After their first year of learning the business, an opportunity arose. In a strange twist of fate, the Scotts met a Southern CA dealer who was tired of the rat race and wanted to retire to a quiet place. So, the big switch occurred. They actually switched dealerships and the Scott’s were moving to Orange County.
By the way, don’t think for a minute that Barbara Scott is just the dotting housewife – we heard a story about her and H-D’s Jeff Bluestein that left no doubt that both Tom and Barbara are well respected in the halls of The Motor Company. In fact I see a lot of similarities between H-D and the Scotts and the way they run their business – no matter how big and successful they get, it’s always first and foremost, about The Ride.
So the Scotts were in the original Harley-Davidson of Fullerton shop for about a year when they decided to build their own one story, 5,000 sq ft, freeway accessible building. “The other dealers thought I was crazy for spending that kind of money,” Tom says.
It was 1970 and along with the birth of his new storefront, came the birth of his son (and today his General Manager) Brian. A few years later they expanded the service department but for the next decade or so, the physical layout of the facility stayed the same.
In 1993, Orange County had become known more for big business than it’s diminishing orange groves and the Scott’s saw America’s Harley-Davidson fever spreading, so they looked toward expansion again. They couldn’t buy the lot next door so they raised the roof and added a second story.
Tom consulted with designers and architects for their ideas and expertise but disagreed with them on many aspects. His innovative insights resulted in a new tri-level design, open floor plan, dual opposite staircases, skylights and welcoming lounge area, making this store a flagship for Harley corporate. More importantly, it created a much more pleasant shopping experience for the customer. Customer service is their goal at Anaheim Fullerton Harley-Davidson. Everyone that walks into their store gets an instant feeling that they are the most important person there. This is the attitude that lead to all this growth and expansion. Their focus on the customer and their needs. Their love of all things Harley.
Keeping that customer in mind, in 2003 Tom finally bought the lot next door and opened another 30,000 sq ft building the vehicle and service center. The original 18,000 sq ft building was left to house parts and motorclothes but with that, the Scott’s now owned a 50,000 sq ft building on almost half a block in Fullerton. All dedicated to Harley-Davidson.
Tom was great at many things but promoting himself was not one of them. He left that to his new guy Tom “Disco” Loveland. Disco was the MC for The Love Ride and other events when Tom snatched him up to further promote Anaheim Fullerton Harley-Davidson.
That 50,000 sq ft facility is now home to one of the largest HOG chapters in CA and this dealer is known for their elaborate parties. Why not, they have the space and the master of ceremonies. They also know how to make people feel at home, like one of the family.
These days you’ll find Disco and Tom’s son, Brian, running the day to day operations with Tom and Barbara always at hand. Tom was all ready to retire after 40 years when the opportunity of a lifetime came about.
One block east of Disneyland, in the Gardenwalk Mall on Harbor and Katella, you will find Tom Scott’s newest creation, the Anaheim Harley-Davidson boutique. Don’t let “boutique” give you the wrong impression though. This very unique shop is loaded with metal and screams Harley-Davidson. The entire store looks like an engine with a belt drive sign that runs around the entire store.
The rack that displays hats is a giant shock spring and the ceiling anchors are nuts and bolts. The walls are adorned with one of a kind artwork. A portrait of The H-D Founding Four stands over one of only 13 exact replicas of the original 1903 first Harley-Davidson. It’s a running model and they own 2 of the 13. They even ride it around events!
On May 15th of this year, over 1,000 people attended a soft gala opening of Anaheim Gardenwalk. The event raised funds for Cystic Fibrosis and was kicked off by the band Chicago’s performance.
The Gardenwalk houses over 90 shops and great restaurants like Cheesecake Factory, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., California Pizza Kitchen, McCormick and Schmick’s, Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine and shops like Hollister which neighbors Anaheim Harley-Davidson.
A few doors down is a lush day spa, an extensive food court and now a 14-screen theater complex called Cinemafusion. There is a 300-lane Anaheim bowling and entertainment center scheduled and when that is complete, a large hotel will be built above the Gardenwalk.
With it’s vertical gardens and floating arbors, it’s already being touted as “O.C’s Hot New Place for Fashion, Food and Fun.”
Forget Disneyland, this is the place to go. You can even get your very own complimentary commemorative photo in front of the Disneyland backdrop. Check it out on September 27th for the 1st Annual Motorcycle & Fashion Show. This 1st year event has motorcycles taking over the new GardenWalk Mall in Anaheim with a ride in bike show with over a $1000 in prizes, Antique Harley Display, free parking, major discounts, FREE Food samples FREE Raffle, Free Walking Poker Run, Fun Competitions, Bands, and a fashion show that will feature not only Harley-Davidson, but all of the other stores on the GardenWalk.
When was the last time you got to ride around a mall on your Harley? The event runs from 10am-4pm. The address is Anaheim H-D, 321 W. Katella Ave., Anaheim, CA 92802 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit www.harleyanaheim.com
What makes Tom, and indeed the whole Anaheim/Fullerton team so great is that from top to bottom, you feel like a part of their family. When you buy your Harley here, the relationship has just begun. Indeed, we know many people who have returned to buy their second and third Harleys from them. When you come out here, whether it’s for parts or a t-shirt of a new bike, you don’t feel like you’re just Harley Corporate’s latest statistic – you feel like you’re seeing old friends, or at the very least, you’re doing business with fair people. It is said that a man’s reputation is everything, or should be. Well these folks live that every day and it shows in everything they do.
After 42 years in this business, there is rumor of Tom Scott’s retirement. Anyone would be proud to have had such a successful career in the motorcycle business but after having lunch with Tom, Barbara, Brian and Disco, I don’t think Tom will ever retire completely. Disco and Brian are doing an incredible job and would probably be fine without Tom, but I know they learn something new from him everyday and just like me, they always enjoy his stories! Disco has even talked about an extended video interview, as this man is a walking library of over 100 years of Harley history. Congratulations Tom and Barbara Scott. Harley-Davidson would not be the same without you.