Expecting used bikes to be the next big trend in the business, Greg Easley opened Bubba's Bike Barn in Downtown Kingsport.
The showroom at Bubba’s Bike Barn is full of pre-owned motorcycles – in various styles and brands – but it’s only the beginning, said owner Greg Easley.
Easley, who also owns Kingsport Cycles, envisions a whole host of possibilities for his new Downtown Kingsport business, Bubba’s Bike Barn, which so far is only using a fraction of the 30,000-square-foot Slip-Not warehouse on East Main Street.
Opening the showroom, he said, is “phase one of 10.” The next phase will be hiring a service technician to work on Harleys. After that, Bubba’s will add apparel and accessories that aren’t available at local dealerships.
Easley’s not sure yet what future phases will look like, but he has a lot of ideas he’d like to try: club meeting rooms, bike shows and events, perhaps stalls for vendors like tattoo artists and custom paint experts.
“We’re trying to find little niches that aren’t available in the Tri-Cities,” he said. “When you’ve got a big facility and you’ve got imagination, you can do about anything.”
Eventually, he said, he hopes to knock holes in the brick wall and put in display windows to showcase some of the motorcycles. With several faux storefronts, he said, the renovated building “will look almost like a little city.”
He doesn’t have a timeline for all of that yet, he said, but he’s eager to find out what there’s a market for in the Tri-Cities.
“This is a test, this whole project,” he said. “It’s kind of an experiment.”
The idea, he said, was inspired by a fellow motorcycle dealer in Phoenix, Ariz., who started selling used bikes and saw business take off.
“He bought a warehouse, and he got on the Internet and found every motorcycle he could find, and he called them and he said, ‘Bring it down here; we’ll sell it for you,’” Easley said.
“The next thing you know, what he thought was going to be a hobby business turned into 100 units and 10 employees, and the next thing you know, he’s in the service business, he’s in the parts business, he has a little café. And this is all in the plan [for Bubba’s Bikes].”
Easley said Bubba’s inspects and reconditions every bike it sells. It’s a great opportunity for people who have a motorcycle to sell, as well as for those looking to buy. Without the strict rules of a dealership, he said, “You never know what’s going to be down here.”
Easley said used bikes are the next big trend in the business, mainly because changes in lending laws have, in many cases, driven up the monthly cost of a new motorcycle four-fold – causing a 60 percent drop in new motorcycle sales since 2008 and the closing of some 5,000 dealerships.
Now, he said, those who can’t afford a new bike have an alternative: Bubba’s Bike Barn.
“Those million units that this industry used to sell in 2008, those vehicles are almost of age now where they’re coming on the used market,” he said, “so there’s twice as many used motorcycles that are going to be for sale in the upcoming future as there are new vehicles being sold now.”
Bubba’s Bike Barn is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday. It can be reached by phone at 423-765-9119 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org powered by Disqus