Custom builder Tony Johns is surviving the recession just fine, he says.
“2009 was our best year since we opened the doors,” he told the Bend Bulletin. “We’re making a profit, and we’re staying busy.”
The owner of Motorcycles of Bend [Ore.] Johns and his crew do modifications for customers, or ground-up custom builds. They also service bikes and are a dealer for Bend-made BMC Choppers. Johns attributes the dealership’s resilience to that blend.
Johns builds lots of things. The Portland native moved to Bend in 2001 to expand Columbia Homes Development Inc., a general contracting business he owns with his father.
He saw the need for a custom bike shop in the area, and opened Motorcycles of Bend in 2006.
For a custom build, Johns tells customers to bring in some pictures of bikes they like. They discuss all the particulars, and Johns gets to work. He charges between $15,000 and $40,000 per bike.
Once the parts arrive, the team build the bikes once for fit, then tear it down, send pieces out for finishing details, and build it again.
Johns is free with his customizing advice, which he says builds customer loyalty. He also meets future prospects at custom car and bike shows, local watering holes and community events. He also hosted Tuesday night poker runs last summer.
“I can’t just sit here and wait for the customers to ride up,” he said. You can read an extended Q&A in the Bend Bulletin.
Posted by Holly Wagner