Harley-Davidson On Route 304 Clears Out And Hits The Road

Business Real Estate Retail

Pandemic Forces Motorcycle Company To Move Operations To NJ Location

By Tina Traster

The Harley-Davidson dealer on Route 304 in Nanuet has packed up and hit the road. A victim of the coronavirus pandemic, the dealer has consolidated its operations at its Rochelle Park, Bergen County location.

“It’s unfortunate but the coronavirus forced us to shut down,” said a manager at the Bergen location. “We had been doing fine. But our business takes place in the spring/summer and people are not going to be buying bikes.”

Harley-Davidson leased the cavernous 31,000 showroom space in 2016. The Bergen store employee said the five-year lease was expiring this year and it made more sense to cut their losses rather than leave the lights burning.

“We did not think we could withstand this,” he said. “It made more sense to consolidate at one location.”

The coronavirus, which has claimed more than 40,000 lives nationwide, and has been particularly vicious in Rockland County and New York City, has also taken businesses in its wake. Many businesses have scrambled to get Small Business Association PPP and federal emergency loans to no avail. Some are already folding.

Notably, businesses that are shuttering reveal how vulnerable they are to a steep and sudden interruption in the flow of commerce. Missing one season, for example, is enough to undermine some businesses. The Nanuet motorcycle dealership has “always been successful,” the employee said, “but the virus has shown that motorcycles are not essential.”

On Tuesday, the Senate approved a $484 billion coronavirus relief package that would revive a depleted loan program for distressed small businesses. The Senate approval came two weeks after Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, first asked Congress for an expedited infusion of $250 billion to shore up the newly created loan program for distressed businesses, known as the Paycheck Protection Program.

The measure would provide $320 billion for the small-business loan program, with $60 billion set aside for smaller lending institutions. The package would also add $60 billion for the Small Business Administration’s disaster relief funds – divided into $50 billion in loans and $10 billion in grants – and farms and agriculture would be eligible.

The House is expected to clear the measure on Thursday, clearing it for President Donald Trump, who has indicated he will sign it.

The departure of Harley-Davidson leaves a gaping hole on Route 304. The space has previously been occupied by La-Z-Boy and Monster Mini Golf.

The Harley-Davidson employee said the company made the decision to move quickly because their season is between spring and summer and he was not expecting business to return to normal this season.

“We only had this window,” he added. “It didn’t make sense to waste money.”