Niles father and son living out dream of owning Harley-Davidson dealership

Published 5:31 pm Thursday, July 26, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Niles' Tom Hamilton and his father, Tom, are living one of their dreams.
While admiring their motorcycles one night, the father and son thought it would be a great idea to get involved with something they both enjoy – Harley-Davidsons.
"The idea came out of the love for our bikes. We never really discussed it before, but that night we were sitting around and came up with some ideas," the younger Hamilton said.
They never would have guessed that just one discussion would lead to the two of them owning their own Harley dealersip, which is exactly what happened.
The grand opening of Hamilton Harley-Davidson will be held on Saturday, Aug 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store is located at 68951 White School Road in Sturgis.
"We choose Sturgis because of the name, obviously, plus the timing of everything," Hamilton said.
In the motorcycle world, everyone knows the name Sturgis, which is why the store's logo is "Not just another bike week."
"Harley-Davidson wasn't too thrilled about it, but the name fits." And it doesn't seem to be affecting their business at all.
"We're rocking and rolling. We have already tripled bikes sales this month than what the previous owner did last July. Everything is going fabulous," Hamilton said.
He explained that with owning a Harley-Davidson dealership, one has to purchase an existing dealership.
"They don't allow you to just open a store, so you have to buy one from someone who is selling," he explained.
In order to own a Harley-Davidson shop, Hamilton had to meet certain requirements that enabled him to run and own the store. He was invited to Milwaukee, Wis., where he took classes. Later, he was approved and given the go-ahead to run his own dealership.
Hamilton, who graduated from Brandywine High School in 1991, currently commutes to Sturgis from Kalamazoo, but is planning on moving to the Sturgis area soon. His father, who previously owned Hamilton Auto Sales on U.S. 31, still commutes to and from Niles.
Hamilton said the dealership offers more than just bikes. "We have the whole she-bang. Leather jackets, gloves and chaps, chrome packages for bikes, we have our own t-shirt line we designed and we also have a full service department."
The dealership also sponsors a number of community events, including a Muscular Dystrophy ride and sponsoring the Sturgis Toy Run, which collects toys for underpriviledged children.
"There isn't much we don't do. We just encourage everyone to make a trip to see us. We'll roll out the red carpet for anyone. We're all about customer service," he added.
The grand opening will feature an American Iron Magazine photo shoot, $25 Dyno Passes, 15 percent off all motor clothes, accessories and collectibles and 2.99 percent financing and free extended warranties on all 2007 bikes.
"It will be a good time," Hamilton said.
For more information on Hamilton Harley-Davidson, call (269) 651-3424 or visit their web site at