Owners of the Harley-Davidson Inc. motorcycle sales franchise for the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area plan to combine two dealerships into a "megastore" at the former United Coatings Manufacturing Co. building, in Spokane Valley.
Beth Ernst, who owns Coeur d'Alene-based Seven Oaks Motor Sports LLC with her husband Greg, says the company bought and now is remodeling the 78,000-square-foot building, located on 11 acres of land at 19011 E. Cataldo, north of Interstate 90 and a few blocks east of Barker Road.
Ernst declines to say how much the company paid for the building and land and how much it is spending on the renovation, but city of Spokane Valley and Spokane County records put the combined value of the real estate transaction and a remodel project under way there at about $2.2 million.
"We plan to open a Harley-Davidson megastore," Ernst says. "We'll basically be closing the old Shumate store on Trent and closing the Coeur d'Alene store and opening a big store between the two locations," she says.
Seven Oaks Motor Sports opened the Coeur d'Alene dealership, called Lone Wolf Harley-Davidson, in 2008 in 22,500 square feet of leased space at the former Adventures N' Fun family entertainment facility at 722 W. Appleway.
The company last summer took over the assets of the former Shumate Harley-Davidson dealership here, after Shumate filed for bankruptcy protection. Seven Oaks then opened the Timber Wolf Harley-Davidson dealership in 27,000 square feet of leased space in the former Shumate location in the Valley, at 6815 E. Trent.
The combined outlet, which is scheduled to open in late June, will be named Lone Wolf Harley-Davidson of Spokane, Ernst says.
Polin & Young Construction Inc., of Coeur d'Alene, is the contractor on the remodel project, and H2A Architects PA, also of Coeur d'Alene, designed it. Spokane-based Sterling Savings Bank financed the property purchase and improvements, Ernst says.
"We're gutting the building," she says. "It will have a huge patio with lots of bike parking within a park-like setting."
Ernst says the building will have two entrances with large windows and a customer lounge with pool and foosball tables. The facility will include a larger selection of parts, accessories, and motorcycle clothes than both stores currently offer, she says.
"We'll have way more room for bikes and the service department will have bays for 14 technicians," Ernst says.
She says the new store will have 40 to 50 employees.
"We're keeping as many employees as we can with minimal change in staff," Ernst says. "Because of the size of the building, it will be more of a destination, and we'll be able to keep the staff rockin' and rollin'."
Shumate also had operated a dealership in Lewiston, Idaho. Ernst says Seven Oaks plans to re-open a dealership in Lewiston next year, although the company hasn't yet found a location for it.
The Ernsts moved to Coeur d'Alene from St. Louis to start a Harley-Davidson dealership after selling a nine-outlet, floor covering chain there. Their sons, Chris and Bill, also are involved in sales at the Coeur d'Alene dealership.
"My husband has been riding forever, and our boys, who were riding as kids, are forming a young riders club," she adds.
Ernst says the business has grown much larger than she had expected.
"It's been fantastic," she says. "We've made great friends who treat us like family."
She says Lone Wolf has 500 members in its Harley-Davidson Owners Group (HOG), and the Timber Wolf HOG chapter has 200 members. The two chapters will be combined to become Lone Wolf HOG Chapter of Spokane, when the Coeur d'Alene store closes, Ernst says.
United Coatings, formerly United Paint & Coatings Inc., was founded here in 1919 as a paint and hardware store and began manufacturing paint in the 1920s.
Two of its largest customers bought the company in the early 1980s after it filed for bankruptcy protection, and the company emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization in 1989.
In 2000, United Coatings changed its focus to industrial coatings and began to ramp up international sales. Within a few years the company built up annual revenue to $20 million, while employing 80 people here and another 20 nationwide.
United Coatings' current owner, Seabrook, N.H.-based Quest Specialty Chemicals Inc., moved its Spokane Valley operations to Phoenix in late 2009.
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