Carolina Harley-Davidson will close its doors forever

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.

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