Where I live, there’a a great little parts and gear shop just north of downtown. They’ve got a nice selection of aftermarket parts and trinkets, the place is run by friendly local folks, and there’s always a neat bike or two out front to check out. Then there’s the local dealership, a bit pricey on the parts and gear but they’ve got a solid service department staffed by qualified, experienced techs. Finally, across town, is my favorite watering hole. Good people, great wings and something to do every week, be it a pool tournament or a charity poker run. I appreciate what these little spots do for me, and I love them all, but they’re scattered across town like undies blown from an unlatched saddlebag. If only I lived a little closer to Huntersville, North Carolina just outside of Charlotte, I’d never have a care in the world about such inconveniences — because that’s where Easy Eddie’s is located.
Opened in 2000, Easy Eddie’s offers all of these attractions and conveniences plus a few more in one impressive location. The huge building includes a comprehensive parts department, a full service department with five lifts, a four-table pool hall, two stages for live music, an outdoor patio and two bars. All of their techs are MMI or AMI certified and are willing to work on whatever pair of wheels you choose to ride. I know this sounds more like the expansive sort of rider’s destination you’d expect to find in Daytona or Sturgis, but I can tell you that it’s right here in North Carolina.
Even in the middle of a cold week in January, Easy Eddie’s had two dozen bikes and cars out front, evidence of owner Eddie Ellis’ ability to keep his customers coming back. Once it warms up in the early spring and one of the shop’s many charity events is underway, it’s not uncommon to count bikes in the parking lot by the hundreds. The open atmosphere, combined with a wide variety of attractions to bring customers through the door, keeps Easy Eddie’s open seven days a week.
“We’ve been avoiding the image of just being a biker bar,” says co-owner Judy Ellis. “But I can tell you that half the guys at the bar don’t even own a bike!” Image aside, the diverse crowd of machines in the parking lot the day I stopped by included a slammed late ‘50s Impala, an El Camino, a slew of Sportsters, FLs and even a Gold Wing.
But Easy Eddie’s is more than just a building with two of everything to amuse the two wheeled crowd. At least ten times a year, Easy Eddie’s hits the road with a trailer and enough techs and parts to ensure that bikers at events all over the country can stay on the road and keep having fun. The response in years past has been so positive that many customers from around the country now call ahead to make sure Easy Eddie’s will be at a particular event to service bikes and install new accessories.
Eddie networks with sponsors such as Metzeler Tire and Spectro Oil to make it out to more events each year, an example of the kind of cooperation and national thinking that has kept Easy Eddie’s expanding and improving for more than a decade. From their start as an Easyriders franchise, to the expansion of their original building and opening of their new location, Easy Eddie’s has shown innovative business savvy and bold thinking. Eddie’s formula for success comes from a clear view of knowing what riders want combined with an ability to deliver those things — in the form of his retail location and his traveling show. Add a variety of options for both fun and community involvement and we’d wager Eddie will keep riders and non-riders alike coming back again and again, for years to come.