By Bud Wilkinson of RIDE-CT.com
After 33 years of owning Willow’s Motorsports in Cheshire, nearly half that time with co-owner Carolyn Vallone, Jim Tabor is on the verge of closing the dealership that up until recently sold Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha motorcycles. The dealership’s website has already been deactivated. “We’re just hanging in there with parts and service and used bikes,” Tabor said this afternoon, confirming that a closure may come soon.
Willow’s relinquished the three Japanese brands within the past two months having earlier given up Victory. “It’s definitely sad. It’s not what I envisioned,” said Tabor (pictured at left). He explained that “a lot of things” contributed to the current financial state of Willow’s, including the bad economy of recent years and a lack of cash to keep it open.
“The price of the product went way too high. It’s not a necessity. It’s hard to reach into your pocket for something that more than 10 grand,” he said, referring to the price of many motorcycles. He noted that Willow’s used to sell a lot of sport bikes to younger riders, but that rising sticker prices have made them out of the reach of many riders. “The price of the product has gotten unaffordable for a lot of people for what’s considered a hobby,” Tabor said.
The shutdown of Willow’s Motorsports could come “probably in a month or so.” Tabor added that there is one party interested in purchasing the property, which is on Route 10 (1555 Highland Avenue) in Cheshire. Tabor has been trying to sell the dealership since spring, but hasn’t been able to find a buyer.
If it closes, Willow’s will be the third motorcycle dealership in Connecticut to close this year. The others are Branchville Motors, the Triumph/Moto Guzzi store in Ridgefield, and Burt Ives Honda in Columbia.