Honda of Shelby founder David Beam is seen on a Gold Wing touring bike with daughter Betty Ann Gibson and son Scott Beam. Photo by Victorian Rose Studio
Fifty years ago, the Honda motorcycle company coined a slogan "You meet the nicest people on a Honda". Today that same term applies not only to riders, but to folks like the Beam family that owns and operates Honda Motorycles of Shelby.
David Beam, 86, started the dealership back in 1969 and it's still going strong providing quality bikes and top notch customer service at 4402 E. Dixon Blvd. In Shelby.
Beam explained how he got into the motorcycle dealership business- the first one in Cleveland County.
"Back in 1969 I saw an article in the Saturday Evening Post magazine about the Japanese motorcycle industry," he said. There was just something about it that interested me. I felt like it would be a growing thing and I was right."
Beam first sold the Yamaha brand for a few years, then brought Honda on board. He sold his Yamaha interest in the late 1970s and has focused exclusively on Honda since then.
"The dealership has been in four different locations over the years, all on Dixon Blvd.," Beam said. "We've been at our current location 34 years."
Since Beam has been in business, he's seen many changes in how motorcycles are built. He pointed out a vintage 1960s Honda "Dream" on display in the showroom as an example.
"The biggest thing is the technology the new bikes have compared to ones like the Dream," he said. "It's just amazing."
Speaking of the showroom, the one at Honda Motorcycles of Shelby is a perfect example of how one should look- clean, bright, with plenty of machines to choose from and lots of parts and accessories tastefully and neatly arranged. The service department has a team of trained mechanics who can do everything from oil changes to convert a bike to a three-wheel trike.
Besides two-wheelers, Honda Motorcycles of Shelby also sells a variety of off road four-wheelers.
"ATVs and what I call side by sides are a growing market," said Beam. "Sales of them are very good right now."
These days, Beam leaves the day to day business operation of the dealership to his son Scott who is general manager and daughter Betty Ann Gibson who oversees the office.
"I'm not as hands on as I once was but I come to the shop every day," he said. "I just enjoy it."
Other folks enjoy the dealership as well. To commemorate the 50th anniversary, the Beams had an open house on June 1 that had over 200 folks show up for food, music, and motorcycle camaraderie.
"I had no idea so many people would come," said Beam. "It made me feel good."
Well wishes even came from Raleigh in the form of a letter from Tim Moore, Speaker of the NC House of Representatives.
"Congratulations to Honda Motorcycles of Shelby turning 50!" the letter said. "Running a successful business is never an easy task, but keeping it running for fifty years is something truly to be admired. You have left a legacy for your children to following in. This kind of family business is what makes our area thrive. You have been an example of hard work for your family and for many in the community. I appreciate all that you have done."
Born and raised in Shelby, Beam says he's thankful for the life and business he's had here.
"It was a blessing of the Lord that I got the Honda dealership," he said.
by Alan Hodge