Big Bear Choppers Bankrupt and Closing?
Monday, December 12, 2011
Big Bear Choppers opened shop in 1998 and once was an $18 million dollar a year business. Their run is apparently ending as the company is reportedly on the verge of declaring bankruptcy.
“We screamed out for help,” said Big Bear Choppers Kevin Alsop recently on the TV program “Bloomberg The Mentor.”
Apparently, those pleas for help have gone unanswered as Cyril Huze
reported today Big Bear Choppers is filing for bankruptcy. The company is defaulting on at least two loans, one from First Mountain Bank to the tune of $147,000, and another from Big Bear Lake’s Improvement Agency which granted BBC a small business investment loan for $100,000 (a 20 year loan at a 3.5% interest rate). Worse yet, the Big Bear Grizzly
reportedly has talked to clients who have either put deposits down or have paid in full for custom motorcycles which BBC hasn’t delivered.
The writing has been on the wall for some time now. It started with a lawsuit back in 2009 for bad frame welds which caused a Big Bear Chopper’s front fender assembly to fail and injure its rider, resulting in the amputation of the man’s right leg. Despite attempts at keeping the incident as quiet as possible, confidence in Big Bear’s motorcycles waned. This tarnishing of BBC’s reputation coincided with the demise in popularity of the stretched and chromed choppers and Pro Streeters with fat backsides and monster mills the company produced. When BBC’s business practices as well as the quality of their products fell under question, the company couldn’t control its downward spiral. A business which the Alsops claimed on the “Bloomberg” show once made $18 million a year has now followed the likes of its competitors American Ironhorse and Big Dog Motorcycles, who already went belly-up.
The Alsop’s appearance on “Bloomberg The Mentor” was a final plea for help. On the show, businesses are paired with CEOs and execs who give advice to struggling entities. The Alsops were paired with Pelican Products’ CEO, Lyndon Faulkner. On the show it was revealed that BBC had orders for bikes that it couldn’t fill because of both a lack of resources and staff. Those unfilled orders are now a thorn in BBC’s side because now they’re reportedly close to filing for bankruptcy and there are a group of people who feel bilked out of their money.
It’s sad to see another American motorcycle manufacturer fall victim to a combination of the economy and bad business decisions. But when you rob Peter to pay Paul, that vicious cycle will ultimately catch up to you, just like it did BBC. It’s easy to live large when everything’s working in your favor, but the true test of a man comes in how they deal with adversity. For Big Bear, the best thing they can do is repay those who invested in them, by any means possible, as fast as possible. That’s the first step to saving face. Then they can continue doing damage control. Whether their reputation has been destroyed beyond repair, only time will tell.
Follow Bryan Harley on Google+