By Starrla Cray
DELANO, WINSTED, MN At a time when the economy is causing many businesses to go on a spending freeze, Crow River Harley-Davidson in Delano is revving up for a renovation.
By next spring, Winsted resident Rodney Scherping, who owns the company with his father, Virgil, said the building will be twice as big.
“It should be open the first week in March,” he said, going from 5,300 square feet to about 11,000.
“Kudos to the Scherpings for embarking on a project at a time like this,” said builder Dan Vos of Vos Construction in Green Isle. “I think it’s really nice for the community.”
Digging for the project has already started, and the walls should be up within the next three weeks. The plan is to add a new level on top of the existing building, and then, remove half of the old building to create 25-foot-high ceilings.
While construction is underway, customers should enter on the south side of the building, Scherping said.
“The Scherpings have been good business owners,” Delano City Administrator Phil Kern said. “We’re excited to see them pursue an investment in Delano, and we wish them continued success.”
A spacious new showroom is planned for Crow River Harley-Davidson, with room for 45 new and used motorcycles triple the current number.
The customer lounge, service counter, conference room, and office spaces will be expanded, and there will also be more room for Harley-Davidson accessories and MotorClothes apparel.
Scherping said he is keeping energy savings in mind during the construction, and plans to make the building as efficient as possible.
“We’re trying to keep our air conditioning and heating costs down,” he said.
One of the ways they are doing this is by installing a white membrane roof, which is highly reflective to cut down on energy costs.
Business at the motorcycle sales and service shop has been down somewhat this year, Scherping said, but he is hopeful it will pick up when the expansion is complete.
“It’s slower this year, because of the economy and Highway 12 construction,” he said. “We’re missing all that drive-by traffic.”
“It’s a positive thing to see as we finish Highway 12 construction,” Kern said. “We’re hopeful it’ll add more retail traffic.”
Vos said his construction company has been doing OK during the economic downturn, and he hasn’t had to lay anyone off. Work, however, has been “spotty,” and they negotiate most of their contracts.
Some industries are faring better than others during this recession, Vos said.
“Anything with food or energy seems to have the most amount of activity,” he said.
As for Crow River Harley-Davidson, Vos said he thinks it’s appropriate that they’re remodeling.
“The customers expect something more updated,” he said.
“It needed a facelift,” Scherping added.
In May, the motorcycle shop is planning a grand opening, serving buffalo that Scherping raises himself.
Crow River Harley-Davidson might have some new job openings in the spring, as well.
“Business will pick up,” Scherping said.
To learn more about Crow River Harley-Davidson, go to www.crowriverhd.com or call (763) 972-6282.