New Tucson address: Knucklehead Alley

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A motorcycle enthusiast and former real estate agent is using the real estate downturn in Arizona to launch a new career, with plans to open Knucklehead Alley, Tucson’s first vintage motorcycle shop.

Michael Skwiat is taking over the last space of a prominent storefront and planning for an August opening.

“It’s going to be two stores in one,” Skwiat told Inside Tucson Business. He plans to sell PG&A from a retail space at the front of the store, while technicians work behind a glass barrier building and repairing vintage bikes.

The retail space will have a boutique feel, with brands like Diesel and Levi’s, plus a proprietary line of Knucklehead Alley T-shirts, hoodies, sweaters and hats. He is also in negotiation with some designer friends in New York to supply more clothing labels.

“It will be like a mini Urban Outfitters,” says Skwiat, who expects to sell bikes for $10,000 to $25,000.

A longtime enthusiast, Skwiat decided to open the shop when he couldn’t find anyone locally to do the custom work he wanted.

“It was nearly impossible here in Tucson to find a builder doing what I wanted to do,” he said.

He plans to hire freelance motorcycle builders, plus retail interns from the University of Arizona. And he’s sure he’s found a winning combination for any economy.

“I don’t think either one would do all that well on their own,” he says, “but together it’s a great concept.”

Posted by Holly Wagner