Pictured on the left is the Burnham Business Park in Tigard, OR. That is where our story begins. Out of one of the small spaces there, we partnered with a neighbor, Tom Ruttan, to sell old Triumph parts and accessories. The old Triumph parts business belonged to Tom, and we had the accessory business. It started out as a hobby business with all of us working full time jobs elsewhere. Kelly was a paramedic, Janice worked at Portland State University, and Tom was in high tech. With Kelly’s schedule of 24 hours on and 48 hours off, he would work the shop by himself whenever he was available. Janice and Tom would work the shop on Saturdays. We did not have regular hours. With the strong encouragement of some of our customers, we took on the Moto Guzzi franchise as there were no dealers in Oregon at the time. We registered with the State as Moto Italia while Tom’s old Triumph business was called Cascade Classic Cycles. Unfortunately, being complete business novices, we did not think to ask the city if it was acceptable to sell motorcycles out of the business park where we currently were. We found out the hard way about zoning laws. We immediately had to move the Moto Guzzi Franchise to our house while keeping the business park location for the rest of the business. It sounds crazy, but we were allowed to sell motorcycles from our residential home in the county, but not in a business park. Needless-to-say, we did not want to have people coming to our home to buy motorcycles, so we immediately began to look for a location that was zoned correctly.
We found a two-bedroom house for sale that was currently being used as a drywall business. It was zoned correctly. That is where we moved our business. Tom, needing more family time, sold us his old Triumph parts’ business; and we merged our names to become Cascade Moto Classics, Inc. We had always been told that most start- up businesses fail because the owners try to make a living off the business at the beginning. We were determined that would not happen so we kept our day jobs and tried to make do. There was so little business at first that it hardly mattered. We did have to hire a mechanic to work on the Moto Guzzis and the old Triumphs though. Janice eventually had to quit her job at Portland State so she could be at the business full time. In 1994, Triumph was looking to return to the United States and was setting up dealers. Our old Triumph customers encouraged us to apply for the new Triumph franchise. Though intimidated by the application process (Moto Guzzi had only required the purchase of two motorcycles to be a dealer), we filled out all the paperwork. The deadline to apply was looming so I had to overnight the paperwork to meet the deadline. We honestly did not hold out much hope that we would be selected. Through the grapevine we heard several of the bigger dealerships wanted the franchise as well. We were just a small Mom and Pop operation. Triumph called us and told us that because all the applications had arrived before ours, the only way they could squeeze in a visit was to come at 7 AM; all the other times during their visit were scheduled. We said that was fine. Our meeting with the CEO of Triumph America, Michael Lock, and Tom Hicks, who was to be the area manager, seemed to go well. However, we still knew they were on their way to visit the larger dealers in the area. Two days later we received the phone call that we had been chosen to carry the flag. We could not believe it! As the motorcycles started to arrive, we realized it was going to be difficult operating out of a two bedroom house. At night we had to cram all the motorcycles in the two-car garage and roll them out each morning. As the Triumph line increased, it became even more apparent we needed a larger space. We started looking for a new shop building. We found an empty building in Beaverton that had been a Harley store.
In September of 2001, with the help of our amazing customers, we moved our entire operation into the ex-Harley Shop. Our space was now more than three times as large as our combined space at our old shop and the rent was equally increased. We worried that we would never be able to fill all the space. Then, one week after moving in, 9-11 took place. We were in shock as we watched the destruction with the whole world. After that, the economy took a huge hit, and people were losing their jobs as well as their investments. Our business plummeted. We met with our landlords and told them we would not be able to complete our lease. We would have to move back into our small building. Our landlords, Fred and Larry Trachi, were amazing. They said we are all in this decline together and agreed to accept a smaller rent until the economy improved. We cannot say enough good things about the Trachis, as they have been prominent in our success! We continued to sell Moto Guzzis and Triumphs until 2013 when we decided to become a single line dealer just selling Triumphs. We are very proud of where we are today compared to our humble beginnings. In 2009 we received an award for being “top dealer since 1994,” for the United States. We have consistently been in the top ten in sales for the US. We now operate with a staff of eleven that are like family. We have an amazing RAT (Rider’s Association of Triumph) Club that has supported us all through the years, and we owe them a debt of gratitude. They were always there for us through thick and thin.
The Cascade Moto Family
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Parts & Accessories Team
Maintenance & Service Team