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March 28, 2009 (El Cajon) —Ribbon-cuttings for Chamber of Commerce members are usually sedate affairs. Not so the grand re-opening of the E l Cajon Harley-Davidson dealership today, where thousands of motorcyclists packed in to join the celebration on El Cajon Boulevard.

“We were expecting 3,000, but it looks more like at least 4,000 people are here,” office manager Robert Poindexter told East County Magazine. Gleaming Harleys filled the streets for blocks around as bikers stopped in for free food and live music by two bands: Full Monty and Cashd Out, a Johnny Cash tribute band. Attractions also included a visit by KGB Radio’s Miss World Class ‘09, a tattoo artist on site, free massages, prizes and Biker’s Bling (“You bring it, We’ll bling it.”)

Vice Mayor Bill Wells proclaimed Harley-Davidson day for the City of El Cajon. The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the dealership, which underwent a total renovation.

The Harley-Davidson brand has been around for over a century, founded 105 years ago.

“Our dealership was started in 1948 by Chuck Holenda,” Poindexter said. An Iowa farm boy, Holenda worked on motorcycles to make ends meet before buying a franchise from Burt Johnston in La Mesa in 1946, Two years later, he moved the dealership to El Cajon.

In 1999, Holenda sold the dealership to Tom Jones and his son, Kevin, who continue to operate the franchise today.   “The entire building was torn down and rebuilt in phases,” Poindexter said.

On hand for today’s celebration, old and new owners Holenda and Jones looked on with pride, reflecting the past and future of El Cajon’s Harley-Davidson dealership.

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