BRANFORD, CT – With a promise to deliver a “fresh, energized approach,” the rebranded Freedom Road Harley-Davidson opened for business here on Thursday. It replaced Brothers’ Harley-Davidson, which sold out to FRG, LLC, co-owned by Mario Galasso of Southbury, CT and Mark Smith of West Hartford.
“I’m excited for the business and excited to be riding Harleys again,” Galasso said this afternoon. “I got my first motorcycle at probably seven years old and I don’t think I’ve gone too long of a stint without one ever since. I’ve always been a motorcycle person.”
Sale Ends An Era For Brothers’ H-D
The change of ownership for the store marked the end of a 44-year run for Brothers’ Harley-Davidson. It was started in 1977 by Bob Paolella Sr. and his wife, Michele. Bob Paolella Jr. served as general manager and his brother Ralph was sales manager.
The sale, first reported last Saturday by RIDE-CT & RIDE-New England, ended a process that took months to complete. “Brothers’ wasn’t for sale,” Galasso said, recalling that he approached the Paolella family last fall. “They weren’t for sale. We just chatted.”
In January, he hooked up with Smith, who had worked as operations manager at Yankee Harley-Davidson in Bristol, CT. A deal to buy Brothers’ was eventually struck with Harley-Davidson’s approval.
New Name For Dealership
“It was Mark’s idea to do Freedom Road. The (Harley-Davidson) brand and motorcycling in general is about freedom. We’re excited about it,” said Galasso of the store’s new name.
Most of Brothers’ existing staff has been retained and are now being augmented with new faces. “I think everyone’s going to thrive,” Galasso said, adding that he wants Freedom Road Harley-Davidson to have a “reputation of being customer centric” from the moment a person steps in the door to when they’re having their motorcycles serviced.
“We are going to compete for motorcycle customers in Connecticut,” he said.
It was lightheartedly noted in the original story about the sale that Galasso’s cover photo on his Facebook page showed that he was riding a Challenger model built by Harley-Davidson rival Indian. Once the story appeared, he quickly changed the picture to show a Harley-Davidson that he formerly owned.
Asked what his plans are now regarding a personal bike, he responded, “Got a whole showroom of them.”
(Unless otherwise noted, photos taken from Freedom Road Harley-Davidson’s Facebook page)
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