Ohio dealer moves to satisfy Harley-Davidson site preferences

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Liberty Harley-Davidson in Ohio is getting ready to shut its store in Boston Heights and consolidate it with the one in Akron, because The Motor Co. doesn't like the location..

Co-owner Ernie Passeos, 72, says Harley-Davidson won’t renew his contract unless he moves the Boston Heights dealership to a place with more highway visibility. A message on the dealer’s website cites “future expansion plans” for the Boston Heights closure.

''I don't have any choice. I have to leave,'' Passeos, who co-owns and operates the store with his former wife, Rosemary, told the Akron Beacon Journal.

He says the Boston Heights store, which opened in 2004, initially seemed to meet Harley-Davidson's requirements, but the company no longer likes the location. The OEM reportedly wants a dealership closer to Akron but farther from downtown than where he is now, he says. Discussions about relocation have been going on for about a year.

Passeos says he built the Boston Heights store and bought acres of land around the site with the goal of consolidating another dealership in North Hill there. He had planned to add another 20,000 square feet to Boston Heights.

Boston Heights' motorcycle sales and service had been strong until being prolonged highway reconstruction took a toll on traffic, Passeos says.

The Boston Heights building was designed to look like a Harley-Davidson V-Twin engine, he says. Now that property, including land, is for sale. Passeos said he has about 14 acres of land to sell plus the 15,000 sq. ft. building.

Now he is weighing two possible sites to satisfy H-D management. ''Wherever you go, you have to get approved by Harley-Davidson,'' he says. ''Basically, I have two years to get it all done.''

Posted by Holly Wagner