Renton Motorcycle Co. closed for business Tuesday to make way for the eventual relocation of Renton Honda, now on Grady Way, to its site on East Valley Road.
Employees of Renton Motorcycle were told of the closure Tuesday morning at a regular staff meeting; later, one of them expressed shock at the closure.
Also remaining open is Mick Kelly's restaurant at the Full Throttle Bar and Grill, which overlooks the Renton Motorcycles showroom.
"We have built a customer base that's not dependent on the motorcycle customer base," said owner Lorraine Tores, so her lunch business won't be affected. She also draws customers from the Harley Davidson dealership next door.
The economy played a role in the closure of Renton Motorcycles, Stallcop said.
However, an earlier plan would have had Renton Motorcycles and Renton Honda share the large building, he said, a plan that failed to get the OK of the Honda corporation. He said it didn't make sense to move Renton Motorcycles elsewhere.
Renton Honda won't move for 18 months to 24 months, Stallcop said, during which it will seek permits from the City of Renton to remodel the Renton Motorcycle space. Renton Honda is one of the anchors of the AutoMall the city created on Grady Way.
Renton Honda dealership underwent a $9 million expansion and renovation about four years ago.
Stallcop said the location on East Valley Road will provide better street access for customers. Renton Honda now is at the busy intersection with Rainier Avenue.
Lanphere also leases the four separate parcels on which his Honda dealership is located. Now, he can consolidate on land he owns, Stallcop said.
That stretch of East Valley Road is also becoming a busy retail area and there are two other auto dealerships in the area, he said. Younker Nissan and Younker Mitsubishi are nearby.
The decision to close Renton Motorcycles was made last week, with managers told Saturday, Stallcop said. The business employs 28; about 10 of them will remain at the store through December to help with closing down the business. Stallcop said the hope is to find positions for the employees elsewhere within the company.
Customers can pick up special-order parts, cancel pre-paid maintenance contracts, cash in Renton Motorcycle gift cards and pick up bikes that are in for service, he said.
"We will make everyone whole," he said.
One longtime customer, Scott Lee of Rainier Beach, stopped by Tuesday morning to retrieve a Kawasaki motorcycle he had on consignment at Renton Motorcycles. He's also a customer of Downtown Harley Davidson.
"It's a sad situation," he said. His wife Gini agreed. "They've been very good to us," she said.
Contact Renton Reporter Editor Dean Radford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-425-255-3484 (ext 5050).