Ron Harvey closes Classic Cycles store in Alaska


Ron Harvey Classic Cycles in Parker, Alaska, is closing down, but fear not: owner Ron Harvey is opening a smaller shop at a new location.

Harvey says the difficult economy, competition from online retailers and a new Harley-Davidson dealership nearby, and amateur builders doing their own work have all caused a decline in his business.

“Well, a few things happened. No. 1 was Craigslist, then eBay and, I hate to say it, but once a guy saw a couple episodes of ‘Orange County Choppers,’ he became a bike builder overnight,” he says. “They want to build their own bikes, and [the popular television show] makes it seem easy, that they can do it overnight in their own garage, and that’s not the way it works.”

So now, after 16 years working on Harley-Davidsons at his first shop, Harvey will do service by appointment only while he works to expand another business in another industry.

“I’m kind of downsizing, restructuring,” he told the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman. “Two years ago I took a job with a friend of mine in Charlestown, S.C., relating to dust control, and I’ve actually had fun with it. He gave me Alaska to try as an open territory, and it’s been fruitful to the company and me both.”

Clearing the shop uncovered forgotten treasures. “I’ve found things I haven’t seen in 20 years,” Harvey says. “There’s some front ends, engine parts and cases. Thousands of dollars worth of parts, everywhere you look. These walls were all closed in and had shelving with parts all stacked up — probably the largest inventory of parts in the state of Alaska for Harleys.”

Posted by Holly Wagner