After 26 years in business, tucked away in one of Akron, Ohio’s most historic neighborhoods, Ernie Passeos recently decided to sell his Harley-Davidson dealership rather than relocate. Harley-Davidson had been urging Passeos to move his Liberty dealership to a better location with easy highway access, but after looking for a new space and closing his Boston Height’s dealership last March, the Passeos’ decided to sell to former airline executive Mike Davis and his wife Franscene. See the full story below that was recently published in the Akron Beacon Journal.
New Rubber City Harley owner likes vroom with a view
By Jim Mackinnon
Akron Beacon Journal business writer
Published February 19, 2012
Ernie Passeos said he initially planned to relocate and expand his longtime Liberty Harley-Davidson business in Akron, not sell it.
Iconic American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson, for one, urged the dealership to move out of its East Cuyahoga Falls Avenue site in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood. The company wanted someplace newer, larger and easily accessible off a highway in the Greater Akron area. Passeos started looking for a new site after closing his Boston Heights location last March.
He and his former wife, Rosemary, business partners in Liberty, rethought things and made a difficult decision to sell the dealership they had been running together for 26 years.
“I just decided not to build,” said Passeos, now 73. “I wouldn’t sell it to somebody who wouldn’t move it forward. I wanted somebody who would take care of my people. I know I made the right decision.”
Enter Mike Davis, a 47-year-old former airline executive who, with his wife Franscene, bought Liberty Harley-Davidson and renamed it Rubber City Harley-Davidson. They expect to relocate off state Route 8 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio this year.
Davis and Passeos began discussing a deal back in October, with the closing taking place Feb. 6. They didn’t disclose terms. (Separate from the cost of a negotiated sale of a dealership, Harley-Davidson says it requires dealer candidates to have a minimum net worth of $2 million, including at least $1 million in “liquid assets.”)
Davis was one of three suitors for Liberty Harley, Passeos said. “The discussion came up. It looked like a good opportunity for us,” Davis said. “By Harley-Davidson standards, it went pretty quick.”
For the complete story in ABJ, visit http://www.ohio.com/business/new-rubber-city-harley-owner-likes-vroom-with-a-view-1.265616