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Hogs on the move

Ron Henderson, a member of the Silverdale Harley-Davidson chapter and his grandson Zachary Henderson, 4, check out the detailed dragon art work painted on the tank of a Harley during Saturday’s groundbreaking party for a relocated Harley-Davidson dealership in Central Kitsap. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Ron Henderson, a member of the Silverdale Harley-Davidson chapter and his grandson Zachary Henderson, 4, check out the detailed dragon art work painted on the tank of a Harley during Saturday’s groundbreaking party for a relocated Harley-Davidson dealership in Central Kitsap.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

This time next year Harley-Davidson enthusiasts will be in hog heaven.

Although large machines have already moved earth, the ceremonial turning of dirt Saturday, April 19 kicked off construction for a new Harley-Davidson dealership.

The 20,000-square-foot facility to be located on Provost Road near Anderson Hill is expected to open in January 2004. Store officials, however, hope to usher in the Christmas season there.

The current store, a small 1,200 square-foot space, is located on Silverdale Way south of the Bucklin Hill intersection. Despite the cramped quarters, general manager Julie Hart said business has been big on the Olympic Peninsula.

“It’s been incredible. For an old gas station we do really well,” she said as Harley-Davidson riders gathered at the old store. The procession of about 50 bikes roared to the new site where shovels met the sandy earth.

“Five years we’ve waited for this,” said Dick West, director for the Silverdale chapter of the Harley Owners Group.

“The gestation period for elephants is two years. This will be a big store,” he said.

The Harley-Davidson retail store arrived in Silverdale about five years ago under the direction of Ed Wallace Sr. who also owns the Tacoma dealership and one in Oregon.

“(The store) will be a lot larger. We’ll be able to better serve our customers on the Olympic Peninsula,” Wallace said.

The store will have an indoor cafe, an outdoor barbecue and picnic area, a full service center and plenty of room.

Amid the bikes and leather Saturday morning was an undercurrent of enthusiasm for the one and only Harley-Davidson.

“It’s like your second childhood all wrapped up in your bike and friends,” Wallace said.

The Silverdale HOG chapter began when the original store opened its doors. Besides riding and having fun the group of 232 raises money for local non-profits.

“It’s all-American,” West said of the Harley. He has been riding for more than 20 years. The group is open to all ages, but West points out the average age of members is 46.

“Doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs, you name a working class we got it,” West said.

Joe Rainier has been riding since 1973 and said he enjoys the freedom that comes with riding a Harley.

“The ride is the best,” Rainier said.

Christy Wallace, Ed Wallace’s daughter, will take over ownership of the new store. She has been riding for about four years.

“Harley-Davidson culture is very diverse. More and more women are riding,” she said.

The store will have about 25 employees and include pre-owned as well as new motorcycle sales.

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