By Diana Olmstead & Robin Hudson
On Saturday July 9th Eastside Harley-Davidson in Bellevue, WA held a spectacular Grand Opening Party to celebrate their official opening at their new location! If there’s one thing this dealership knows how to do it’s to throw a great party!
The party started at 1pm and went until 9pm. When the Quick Throttle crew rolled in at about 2 o’clock the place was beyond packed! Bikes filled just about every inch of available parking and people of all ages were everywhere.
A huge event tent was set up in one corner of the parking lot. One half of the tent was the designated beer garden and the other half contained seating so patrons could watch the band and relax and enjoy the free catered BBQ lunch.
Directly in front of the event tent was the stage. All day some of the best bands around took the stage to insure that this would be one rockin’ grand opening! Special thanks to the following bands: Patrick Riefflin, Duke Evers, Al Rowe and headliner Darci Carlson. For many it was a lot of fun to see Eastside’s multi-talented GM, Sebastian Bularz, jump up on stage and play the drums with Al Rowe. Spike O’Neill, a longtime Harley rider and KZOK 102.5 DJ emceed the party.
The Harley Jumpstart (a motorcycle treadmill) with a cool looking Sportster on it was available to anyone wanting to get a sense of what it would feel like and sound like to ride a Harley.
One of the things that I applaud Eastside H-D for doing is creating a cool, fun, family friendly event. This is how we get our kids engaged in the Harley scene and it’s where their passion and love for motorcycles often begins.
As we stood directly in front of this brand new dealership and took in its architectural design we couldn’t wait to see what the inside was like. As we walked through the huge open bay doors that line the front of the shop we just stood there taking it all in and getting a sense of the place. It was hard to imagine that this same building had once been the long-time home of Skate King roller-rink. Now it was what I can only describe as industrial cool. The many neon signs that were hanging throughout the dealership had a life of their own and created a vibe that made people feel excited for all things Harley-Davidson.
The dealership has an open floor concept and nice flow pattern when moving from one department to the next. I checked out the parts Dept which was on the left side of the shop; the walls and shelves were filled with meticulous rows of parts and cleaners. Their showroom located in the center of the building held more bikes than I could count; they were all gleaming and begging to be adopted.
Of course my friend (and QT photographer) Robin and I headed to the Motorclothes Dept which bordered the showroom. We shopped with reckless abandon; we bought shirts, tank tops, bar ware, and new purses. As you can imagine, we love doing our job!
To the right of the Motorclothes Dept is the Sales Dept desk and Sales offices. There were so many riders and sales staff hustling about finalizing bike deals that I stood back and watched the excitement as a few people were making a first time purchase or a few were trading up to something newer or bigger.
I’d estimate that over the course of their 8 hour party between 2500-3000 people came and went! And as I mentioned before, although the shop was packed inside and out with people it didn’t feel cramped, it felt rather comfortable. This very reason is why Eastside Harley chose to move to a new location – better flow, open concept, a nice level parking area and a large covered area, all of which benefit the riding community and the EHD staff.
Speaking of the EHD staff, they all deserve a huge round of applause for working their tails off non-stop throughout the entire day. Everyone took notice, and your smiles and positive attitudes went a long way in my book.
The highlight of the day was the ribbon cutting ceremony. Todd Thomson, Dealer Principal, addressed the crowd and made a poignant speech about why they love and value their customers and the Harley-Davidson brand. His Mom and EHD Owner, Bev Thompson had the honor of cutting not only the official Grand Opening ribbon but also the gorgeous cake that was designed by Dodi Still, one of their Eastside HOG members. No question about it, the cake tasted as yummy as it looked.
Before we headed out I spoke to Sebastian Bularz, the Eastside H-D General Mgr and I asked him how it feels to finally be all settled into their new digs. With a huge smile on his face he replied, “We had been operating in a temporary space for the past 6 months so it feels really great to be in such a beautiful and functional space. We really want to thank our customers who stood by us during this process and we’d like to thank everyone who came out to support us today.”
If you didn’t get a chance to attend this awesome celebration and check out their new 31,000 square foot dealership, then be sure to stop by check out the new 2017 H-D lineup that will arrive on August 27th.
Eastside Harley-Davidson is open 7 days a week and they are the only facility in Western WA that offers the H-D Riding Academy. They also have the largest fleet of Rental motorcycles and the fleet always consists of the current model year.
Eastside Harley-Davidson is now located at 2350 136th Pl NE Bellevue, WA; just off the north side of Hwy 520 and east of 405.
On behalf of Quick Throttle Magazine, congratulations to Eastside Harley-Davidson on their new dealership and we wish them many years of continued success in the motorcycle industry!