Future of Big Bear Choppers in doubt

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Big Bear Choppers has fallen on hard times and may be closing its doors forever, according to published reports.

A sign on the door at the Big Bear Lake, Calif., facility says closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, reopening Nov. 28. The business did not reopen Nov. 28, according to the Big Bear Grizzly.

The company’s troubles started in 2009, when a man who lost his leg in an accident filed a product liability suit against BBC, claiming faulty welds on his bike. New cases were being filed as late as Nov. 10 of this year.

Other customers have since complained to the newspaper and authorities that they made deposits or paid for motorcycles up front, but never received them.

Calls from Dealernews were not answered.

Owners Kevin and Mona Alsop, appearing on the mentoring TV show “Bloomberg The Mentor” earlier this month, admitted they were down to producing six bikes a month but needed to sell 10 to keep the business above water. Kevin Alsop said at the time that he has neither the resources nor the staff to produce 10 a month.

It was also revealed on the TV show that Big Bear Choppers has numerous orders for custom motorcycles, which the customers have either paid for in full or paid a deposit, that haven’t been filled.

In May, the city of Big Bear Lake’s Improvement Agency approved a $100,000 direct loan to the boutique OEM through its small business investment program. According to the city’s website, the loan program is administered by the Small Business Administration. The money must be paid back within 20 years and the interest rate is 3.5 percent.

Big Bear Choppers also received help in April from the San Bernardino Workforce Investment Board. The Layoff Aversion Program received funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to provide support to small businesses to retain employees.

On the Bloomberg show, Kevin stated that he and Mona searched for help but none was offered. “We screamed out for help,” Kevin stated. He said without business knowledge, he had hired people and overpaid them to help build his business.

Posted by Holly Wagner

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