Big history in Southern California. Walter “Bob” Laidlaw opened Laidlaw’s Harley-Davidson in 1958 in Rosemead, Calif. The dealership moved to a new facility by 1963. In 1969 and 1970, it was reportedly the top volume dealer in the world, selling about 575 bikes a year.
Son Brent Laidlaw joined the dealership in 1994. Another son, Jarold Laidlaw, “works closely with the service department,” according to Laidlaw’s filings. The dealership expanded in 1994, doubling space and constructing 40 additional feet of frontage.
Family members in 1998 formed a real estate holding company for the property. The business moved to a new facility in nearby Baldwin Park in 2000. Walter Laidlaw owns 40 percent of the property; his children own the remainder, through separate corporate entities.
The brief states that the family invested $4.8 million into building the 46,000 sq. ft. dealership it occupies today, and more to install 534 solar panels during 2004 and 2005. The protest estimates the family’s total investment in the property at $6.5 million to $7 million.
The dealer started offering “authorized” rentals through the OEM’s program in 2002, and in 2006 became an EagleRider franchise. It also opened an on-site insurance agency. Today the dealership has about 50 employees.
The company won gold Bar & Shield awards in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and bronze awards in 2008 and 2009. In 2008 the Motor Co. recognized Walter Laidlaw, who’s no longer involved in day-to-day operations, for 50 years of service. The dealer leases vehicles to three police departments and has a relationship with Los Angeles International Airport, and hosts numerous charity functions. It’s also one of 24 dealerships, and the only one in the western states, to offer the Motorcycle Value Program (MVP), a loyalty program with 6,000 members through the dealership, according to court documents.
Laidlaw lawyers cited the dealership’s status as 101st in the nation in sales volume in November 2011; however, the OEM's attorneys countered that the ranking included the disputed sales.