The Harley-Davidson dealership in Bellingham has a new name and new owner pending final paperwork for its state dealer’s license.
Gregory Head is the owner of the new Mt. Baker Harley-Davidson, formerly known as Harley-Davidson of Bellingham located at 1419 N. State St. He is from Chicago and has only been in Bellingham for three weeks preparing to take over the business.
“I am going house hunting this weekend,” Head said. “My wife and kids are still in Chicago. They will be flying out after the holidays.”
The old Harley-Davidson dealer had two connected spaces, one of which has been sold. Harley-Davidson still occupies the other half, which is approximately 12,000 square feet.
Head said he has been working with Harley-Davidson for the past two years to approve the dealership changeover, but was not immediately told the location would be in Bellingham.
“When Harley first approached me, they didn’t tell me where it was — they just told me about the size of the dealership,” he said. “I told them it was on the smaller side and I didn’t know if it was right for me. But when I heard it was in Bellingham, I was immediately interested.”
Head said he trained at Fort Lewis for six months when he was in the military and knew about the great quality of life that living in the Pacific Northwest could afford his wife, two boys and 15 year-old daughter.
“I am looking for some place to live for the rest of my life,” he said. “It’s a big move because it’s a whole new life.”
After the military, Head went on to pursue multiple careers in law enforcement and the corporate world of sales and marketing and investment banking. He owned a sales and marketing company and a franchise business with his wife. After selling those, Head said he began looking for his next venture.
Head said he was heavily recruited by Harley-Davidson to take on the Bellingham location, which the company felt was an important location that needed “a new start and a fresh future.”
In June 2005, federal agents and local police raided the Bellingham Harley-Davidson dealer and arrested the president and at least a dozen members of a local motorcycle gang. Later, a grand jury returned a 19-count indictment against the gang accusing them of racketeering, witness tampering, drug dealing and selling stolen Harley-Davidsons, according to a June 10, 2005 Seattle P-I article.
Head said the dealership’s unfortunate past “was a factor” and had something to do with the company recruiting a Chicago family man with a corporate and law enforcement background.
He said Harley customers won’t notice many aesthetic changes at the business, but Head will be a fixture there and customer service will be one of his main focuses.
“I am not going to be a passive owner,” he said. “I will be here full-time and 100 percent involved in every aspect of the business.”
Head said he will also be more active in the Harley community coordinating rides and events. Even though Head has only been in Bellingham for three weeks, he doesn’t feel lonely.
“If you own a Harley-Davidson, you have millions of friends instantly,” he said.
The new Mt. Baker Harley-Davidson provides Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales and service, including Harley-Davidson accessories, parts and clothes. For more information, call (360) 671-7575.