Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson, the oldest family-owned Harley motorcycle dealership in Colorado, is shutting down at the end of the month.
The longtime business, founded in 1979 by owner Kathy Yevoli, who still serves as RMH-D president, has fallen victim to a corporate downsizing strategy, said Marina Yevoli, Kathy’s daughter and director of marketing at the Littleton motorcycle dealership.
The dealer sells new and pre-owned motorcycles, and the business also includes a service, parts, and merchandise departments.
“We are closing, not by our choice,” Marina Yevoli said. “To be politically correct, they (Harley-Davidson) are condensing the market and independent dealers do not fit that mold. They are doing away with family-owned businesses.”
Over the years staff has been like family and announcement of the closure, to staff on Monday and to the public on Wednesday (on Facebook), has been extremely distressing, she said.
The Facebook announcement, in part, said: “Based on changes in this overall market, and in accordance with Harley-Davidson Motor Company’s network strategy, we will be retiring as an authorized Harley-Davidson dealership.”
Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson pitched its products and services to clients and Harley motorcycle enthusiasts as “A Way of Life.”
Over the years, RMH-D has been a local community leader, raising money for nonprofits, charities, hospitals and other entities.
In 1985, Vincent Terranova, a part owner of the dealership, started the Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson annual Children’s Hospital Toy Run with a small group of friends — motorcycle riders and Harley enthusiasts. The event grew to include thousands of participants each year, with about 3,000 riders in 2007.
Over the 36-year run of the toy run, Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson donated more than $500,000 to Children’s Hospital, Marina Yevoli said. The dealership also hosts annual golf tournaments, which have raised more the $300,000 for a variety of causes.
RMH-D has about 24 employees, including mechanics, salespeople and other staff. Closing plans call from them to be kept on through April, but the dealer will not do any business as of March 1 based on its closing agreement with Harley-Davidson.
“A lot of our employees have a long tenure with us, mostly over 10 years,” Marina Yevoli said. “Our longest running mechanic has now been here 36 years.”