An iconic motorcycle shop in Hawkesbury, Ont., has reached the end of the road after a ride that spanned more than four decades.
Goulet Motosports, a Harley Davidson dealership, will close Oct. 31.
"It is with nostalgia that I write this but also with pride to have had the chance to lead a retailer that has grown so much in our small town," store owner Sophie Goulet wrote in a French post on the company's Facebook page on Thursday.
"What a wild and exciting ride it has been, meeting wonderful people, attending meetings, travelling to many cities and much more."
It's much more than a dealership. - Yves Charlebois, employee
Goulet, who took ownership of the family business from her parents in 2001, said the decision to close wasn't linked to the performance of the dealership, but is the result of weak regional demand for motorcycles.
The news sent shock waves through the small town around 95 kilometres east of Ottawa and beyond. Hundreds of people responded to the Goulet's Facebook post, with many expressing their sadness and sharing stories of visiting the store.
Yves Charlebois, who has been working at the dealership for eight of its more than 40 years, said it served as a gathering place for bikers and non-bikers alike.
"Just to think about that, the fact that ... this place is going to be empty and nothing in it and no customers and no bikers coming in town, I just can't get my head over it," he said. "It's much more than a dealership."
Goulet Motosports is well-established in the community, sponsoring community events such as the Hawkesbury Bike Fest, which brings together Harley enthusiasts from far and wide.
The dealership also raises money for local institutions, such as the Hawkesbury General Hospital.
Other local business owners are concerned the loss the dealership may have an economic impact on tourism.
"Our terrace on the weekend is always full. Because of [the dealership] closing, we're gonna lose a lot," said Marie-Êve Côté, restaurant manager at the Moonshine BBQ Smokehouse.