by Clint Burgess & r & As the sun continues to beat down on the Inland Northwest, the animals of summer come out in droves. Custom street rods and motorcycles abound. More often than not, the vehicle of choice for these sun-soakers is a chromed-out, customized Harley. Really, there's nothing more holy to bike riders than a machine that has the Harley-Davidson stamp of approval. Fortunately for riders, there's a new place in town to get the hook up on customized Harleys. The House of Custom Cycles has exactly what the discerning motorcycle enthusiast is seeking.

The shop opened in late February in an old fire station. Owner Don Bailey has had a string of successful small businesses and decided to take his passion for motorcycles and combine it with his entrepreneurial know-how. His vision was to offer something more for local and regional bike seekers. Shop manager Gary Erickson explains: "Don felt that Spokane really needed a good custom used motorcycle shop." After he solidified his idea, Bailey spent a year combing the nation for the finest and cleanest used custom motorcycles. "We only buy clean, one-owner, impeccable bikes," says Erickson. "We don't do consignment and we don't sell Japanese bikes, either," he adds. It's obvious after a stroll around the showroom that everything in the place is top-notch.

After just five months in business, things are really picking up for the shop. "The first month was a little slow, but right now we're at the zenith of our sales," says Erickson. "We've had a lot of support from the local motorcycle community, and things are just getting started." The shop's location has also helped the cause. At 8007 E. Trent Ave., it's located about a mile east of the Harley-Davidson store. "This is pretty much biker alley when it comes to Spokane," Erickson explains. "We get the heaviest bike traffic of anywhere in town." That kind of visibility is good -- but there's another kind that's better. The glimmering allure of chrome coming from the bay doors of the shop is enough to get anyone with even a little interest to stop and check things out. The majority of the business the shop has done so far has been through word of mouth and passersby.

There is something to be said for how a shop is kept also. The House of Custom Cycles is immaculate and Erickson is responsible for that. He's the shop manager, salesman, maintenance guy and resident gear head. He's been into motorcycles since he was 7, and, in the true spirit of his job, owns a custom Harley. "My motto is life's too short not to own a Harley," he says. The combination of his expertise and enthusiasm, coupled with the shop's outstanding product, make for an irresistible combination. "We've got everything from mild to wild in here," says Erickson. The shop also acts as a broker of sorts; after gathering details and specs from customers, the House can find a bike to fit anyone's needs.

There is no doubt business will continue to increase for the House of Custom Cycles. They've just finalized a deal that will make them the only Titan motorcycle dealership in the Inland Empire, and they have plans to implement an expanded service center that will include options for all kinds of additional customizations. If everything goes according to plan, in the near future there will be even more to see at the shop. "We hope to be here for a long time," Erickson enthuses. By the look of things, it sounds like a safe bet.

Wallace Huckleberry Festival @ Wallace

Fri., Aug. 19, 7 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sat., Aug. 20, 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
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