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SKAGIT HARLEY-DAVIDSON

Where Eagles Fly

The year was 1975 and the Harley-Davidson Motor Company which was a division of AMF, was struggling just to keep the small market share that they had left from going even lower. The poor quality of the 1975 models had made some more unhappy customers and damaged their reputation even further. Harley's experiment with building small 2-stroke motorcycles in Italy and trying to market them in the United States was a complete disaster and dealer moral was at an all time low.

Skagit HD Owner Fred SmithIt was during this very trying time that Fred Smith was working as the parts manager for Everett Harley-Davidson and was getting his 1st taste of what a Harley-Davidson was really all about. "The one thing that amazed me the most about the Harley crowd was how loyal the typical Harley owner was in spite of the ongoing quality control problems. It may be that subconsciously I knew then that if I was ever going to be a motorcycle dealer, I would be a Harley dealer."  

Sportster circa 76In 1976 Smith contacted the Harley factory about a franchise in Skagit County and they sent out Gordon Churchill, their District Rep. The two hit it off pretty well and he pushed the factory to approve Smith, which they did in very short order. To make a long story short, the Motor Company felt that even if they only ended up selling Smith a couple dozen Harleys a year, that was a couple dozen more towards holding onto their market share!

Fred and DougThe first 1976 model Harley-Davidsons arrived and the excitement began. A local guy named Doug Friedl rode in on a 1969 XLCH and wanted the first FX Superglide that came in. "I sold him the bike for about $3,450 and then as an after thought because he seemed to know most of the Harley people around the Skagit Valley area I offered him a job." says Smith. Friedl accepted the job and stayed with the company until about 1989.

The New Store!Smith's goal has always been to build Skagit Harley-Davidson into the ultimate candy store for Harley Davidson enthusiasts, and in 1998 a new 20,000 sq. ft. facility on Interstate 5 became a reality. "I feel that our extensive selection of Motor clothes, collectibles, custom and replacement parts is unparalleled in the Pacific Northwest." points out Smith. 5,000 sq. feet is devoted to the service area and it has been equipped with a dynometer, milling machine and other machinist equipment.

This year, Skagit H-D is celebrating their 23rd year as a Harley-Davidson dealer and what a banner year it has been. For the 2nd consecutive year, Dealernews magazine has voted Skagit Harley-Davidson into the Top 100. In addition, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company has awarded them the Gold Bar and Shield Award, making them the only Washington dealer to receive this award in 1998 and 1999. Going into the year 2000, Skagit Harley-Davidson is ranked by the Motor Company as one of the top 25 Harley-Davidson dealers in the United States!

TM/Summer 1999


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