Spotlight on Sweetwater Harley-Davidson

By Randy Twells

Making the rounds of what’s going on in Southern California, I stopped in recently at the last Harley dealer before the Mexican border, National City’s Sweetwater Harley-Davidson. Founded in 1985 by family Patriarch Tom Horning (RIP), he also started the first HOG chapter in California, and helped create the Tijuana Toy Run among other firsts.

My visit was on a Saturday this September, the day of their Open House. The next day would be a Swap Meet. So I met their Events and Marketing person Jim Greenwood, and we got a photo of Jim along with Owner Marianna Polles and her daughter & General Manager Anastasia.

00000029bMarianna’s personal Harley Springer with stunning red paint & graphics is shined up and on display right outside her office door; this lady has ridden many miles as has Anastasia too. Two lady riders who know their stuff! Sweetwater Harley is of course also a reflection of Marianna and Anastasia in their long standing family business. Stepping outside there’s Shotgun House Blues band playing in the fresh air, and street tacos were naturally the delicious fare at the HOG outdoor grill. I couldn’t resist getting into rock concert mode and shooting the band.

The following day (Sunday) was as mentioned their Fall Swap Meet. (They have one in Spring and one in Fall.) Spaces cost a mere $5 and you can sell whatever you like as long as it’s used items. I have a lot of extra well-but-gently-used motorcycle gear (can you imagine..) and I thought, why not? Sweetwater HOG was in charge of the breakfast burritos for donation, and were they good! A DJ provided some musical background for our enjoyment.

00000051bSo I did pretty well actually, sold some key items, and I even got there kind of late! And people got a lot of bargains. There were people from all over. One guy was from Ramona, a town up in the mountains 40 miles away, selling his stuff. Bike parts of all kinds, take offs, wheels, you name it. Anastasia was right there making sure I found my spot and kindly helped me get some heavier items out, and upon conclusion KC from the dealership magically appeared and helped me get my remaining items back in my Jeep, as I’m a bit diminished physically. This is the kind of people you want to do business with, “kind” being the operative word.

00000031bMarianna and Anastasia continue Tom Horning’s legacy. Having served in the US Army he was strongly committed to the military. Following his lead, Sweetwater Harley continues to hire former military men & women whenever possible. Hawg Heaven Biker Church has its services on the rooftop deck which seems appropriate- out in the fresh air, one can look up with wonder at the heavens and appreciate our blessings, a little more. And downstairs in the house, a tattoo shop to help you wear your heart on your sleeve.

On this special weekend I met some new faces and had a great time- stop in sometime and meet some real, nice people, at Sweetwater Harley-Davidson– and you never know, you might just happen to see the bike of your dreams in there too.

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