September 18, 2021

Brothers’ Harley-Davidson Getting New Owner And New Name

(UPDATE: Friday, May 14 at 4:50 p.m.New story with new owner’s perspective.)

(UPDATE: Friday, May 14 at 9:50 a.m. – The sale of Brothers’ Harley-Davidson to FRG, LLC was completed Wednesday and the dealership began operating on Thursday as Freedom Road Harley-Davidson. RIDE-CT & RIDE-New England has so far been unsuccessful in getting comments from new owner Mario Galasso.)

BRANFORD, CT – Another Harley-Davidson dealership in Connecticut is reportedly being sold. This time it’s family-owned Brothers’ Harley-Davidson here, which was started in 1977 by Bob Paolella Sr. and his wife, Michele. An April 21 filing with the state and displayed on Connecticut ‘s website shows the buyer to be Mario Galasso of Southbury, CT.

The sale price isn’t known, but a source tells RIDE-CT & RIDE-New England that the ownership change is due to be finalized next week and that the dealership will be rebranded as Freedom Road Harley-Davidson.

The state filing lists FRG, LLC (presumably for Freedom Road Group) as the incoming owner at the dealership at 557 W. Main St. The source said employees at Brothers’ Harley-Davidson have been told of the sale.

The change in ownership comes less than a year after Gengras Harley-Davidson in East Hartford was sold and became Hartford Harley-Davidson and less than two years after TSI Harley-Davidson in Ellington was sold and became Old School Harley-Davidson. Both were bought by Chad Clark and Bryan Castor.

New Owner Has Extensive Background

A LinkenIn profile for Galasso shows him to be a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He is the co-founder and president of Dragon Fly Brands. That company sells aftermarket products for touring motorcycles under the Hardstreet name and for off-road vehicles under the Rydcrew name.

Prior to launching Dragon Fly Brands in December 2018, Galasso was a top executive for nearly 16 years at bike, motorcycle, off-road and truck suspension maker Fox.

Since its founding 44 years ago, Brothers’ Harley-Davidson has been a family operation. Bob Paolella Jr. serves as general manager of the store. His brother, Ralph, has been sales manager since 1995, according to the dealership’s website.

The sales and closures of many Harley-Davidson dealership across the country have been frequent of late and come at a challenging time for the Milwaukee-based company. Sales have been slipping for years due to “baby boomers” aging out of motorcycling and not being replaced by younger ones.

Dealer consolidation, a trimming of the model lineup, and development of new models did help Harley-Davidson experience a turnaround in the first quarter of 2021.

Brothers’ Harley-Davidson had already closed Friday by the time word of the sale reached RIDE-CT & RIDE-New England. A Facebook Message has been sent to Galasso seeking comment. This story will be updated when more information becomes available.

One change will likely take place once Galasso assumes ownership of the dealership. He will need a new motorcycle as the cover photo on his Facebook page shows that he’s ridden an Indian motorcycle for at least the last six months.

(Photos taken from Brothers’ Harley-Davidson’s Facebook page)

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Since 2010, RIDE-CT & RIDE-NewEngland has been reporting about motorcycling in New England and portions of New York.

11 comments

  1. Steve & Eileen Baird

    Well What do you know now you can get a bigger boat Bob but all kidding aside congrats on retirement its been a pleasure doing business and just stopping in to jaw jack. Just when I was coming in to look for a new belt buckle.

  2. It is with heavy hearts, that after 44 years of proudly representing the American Icon, Harley-Davidson, my wife Michele and I have decided to hang up our helmets and retire as owners of Brothers’ Harley-Davidson.

    The new owner, Freedom Road Harley-Davidson, has maintained most of our existing staff to meet all of your riding needs.

    We, along with our sons, Bob Jr and Ralph, who have helped to run the dealership all these years, would like to thank our tens of thousands of customers for their patronage and support of our family.

    We have enjoyed serving you and will miss all the wonderful friendships we have made…

    ….RIDE SAFE!

    Bob and Michele

  3. Robin Pivirotto

    I just found out about the ownership change and I feel extremely lucky to have been able to purchase my tri-glide from Brothers last month. I have known Sr., Michelle, Jr. and Ralphie for a long time (mid 70’s) and have always felt welcomed and like family each and every time I visited to either purchase a motorcycle or just to visit. I remember the dealership on Forbes Ave. and how proud they were when they moved to the new shop in Branford. It was quite a transition, but a welcomed one. I wish them all the best, Sr.and Michelle in their retirement and Jr. and Ralphie in whichever direction they head in. Will deeply miss you all.
    And I wish the new owner, Mario Galasso, the best in his new endeavor. He has some really big shoes to fill, but if he can continue the family-oriented spirit that the Paolella’s always promoted, he will do well.

  4. I bought my first Harley Davidson from Bob and his bother Ralph when they first opened in 1977 on Forbes ave. It was an AMF Black Sportster. from that time to present I have purchased 5 more Bikes , Everyone there was always helpful and kind…. Noelle, George, Pete, Cookie and the whole Paolella family. I will miss them. I wish all of them the best.

  5. Bought my first HD from them in 1994 and my current one came from them too.
    Bob always treated me as an appreciated Customer; something sadly lacking these days. Thanks for the good times and all the best to you and your family!

  6. Mickey Dagostino

    I wish the best for Bob Sr and family in retirement. You guys always made us feel like family. Thanks for all the good times.

  7. It’s so sad to see them go. I’ve bought three bikes from them over the years and it was like visiting family every time I walked through the door. They will be missed .

  8. I hope they don’t change the Brother’s name… it has so much history and weight behind it. Going there felt like a Harley haven. Can’t believe they’d ever sell to a guy who rides an Indian!!! What’s that about anyway?

  9. Very sad to see this family owned institution fall by the way side. I’m from New Haven Ct and I’m 62 yrs old so Brothers is close to my heart. I know the family well and they always ran the dealership with dignity and grace. Let’s wish the Paeolelo family the best in their retirement. We love you you guys. Thank you for 44 great yrs. let’s hope Freedom can keep this great place alive and welll

  10. Wishing the new owners of Brothers HD the very best. They have VERY BIG SHOES to fill taking over the helm of this Dealership. Bob Sr and his family worked hard to keep a family atmosphere in there. You felt VERY WELCOMED as soon as you took 2 steps through the doors . HOPE THE NEW OWNERS READ THIS.
    Remember those words, IF IT’s NOT BROKEN, DON’T TRY TO FIX IT

  11. Times are a changing here in Connecticut with four Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Dealers…

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