Posted by Alison Toole - email
GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) - After 22 years of business, Carolina Harley-Davidson owner Diane Baldwin and The Motor Company have entered a mutual agreement and announced Tuesday morning that the Gastonia dealership will shut it's doors October 15th, 2010.
"It was a difficult decision for me. There is a lot of history here and these people are like my family," Baldwin said.
Diane's husband Click died in a motorcycle accident just over two years ago. Without Click, she said, there is no Carolina Harley-Davidson.
Dealership employees were notified of the decision on Saturday, August 14, many of whom worked at the dealership when Click died.
Jim Bright is one of the longest-serving employees on staff there.
"This is the only Harley-Davidson shop I want to work for, that's how much they mean to me. My next job will not be at a Harley-Davidson shop," Bright said.
Click and Diane Baldwin opened Carolina Harley-Davidson, Inc. in 1988 in downtown Gastonia with only five staff members. At the height of business they had 75 employees. Today the dealership has expanded to a 70,000 square foot building at 2830 East Franklin Blvd. with 33 employees.
Diane plans to address her customers and the community next weekend at their The Annual Bikes, Boogie & BBQ and now final event.
"I want to say thank you all for everything, for being here and for making it a wonderful ride," Baldwin said about her customers Wednesday.