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Founder puts Oldham motorcycle dealership on market to retire and travel the world

Steve Shaw, founder of Highbarn Motorcycles, who now wishes to sell up and travel the world

A pioneering dealer of high-quality previously owned motorcycles has been placed on the market by its founder after three decades in business. Steve Shaw, who will celebrate his 60th birthday next year and now wishes to retire, has instructed Blacks Business Brokers to find a new owner for Highbarn Motorcycles in Oldham.

Blacks, a national business transfer agent headquartered in nearby Bury, is marketing Highbarn Motorcyles with an asking price of £199,950 to take over the leasehold premises from which the business operates, plus annual rent of £36,000. A further sum, likely to be in the low-to-mid six figure range, will also be negotiated to cover the cost of stock at the time of sale.

Mr Shaw, who raced motorcycles competitively in the early 1980s, established Highbarn Motorcycles in 1989 having experienced poor after-sales care from the second-hand motorcycle dealers operating at the time. He decided there was an opportunity to be had in taking a more customer-focused, service-led approach.

The business was initially established by Mr Shaw on Highbarn Street in Royton, Oldham. By 1993 it had outgrown its original premises and moved to its current location at 177 Broadway in Chadderton, Oldham.

Highbarn Motorcycles, which will trade as normal until a new owner is found, has projected turnover of £1.3 million for the current financial year. It employs five full-time members of staff, all of whom would stay on following a change of ownership.

The business operates out of a large showroom that houses its current stock of more than 60 motorcycles, including many high-performance models as well as a number of classic bikes that have been restored by the Highbarn service team. Based close to a junction with the M60 Manchester orbital motorway, the dealership also transacts a significant proportion of its business online and has a loyal base of repeat customers nationwide and across Europe.

Mr Shaw, whose many trophies are housed in two large cabinets in the showroom, wishes to retire to enable him to travel the world while, in his own words, he is “still young enough”. He says his success is due in large part to a passion both for motorcycles and for providing excellent ongoing service and believes similar qualities would be essential in a new owner.

John Gaskell, director at Blacks Business Brokers, said, “Highbarn Motorcycles has an excellent reputation and brand recognition, with a Europe-wide client base. This is a fantastic opportunity either for an existing operator in the trade that is looking to expand or a for a motorcycle enthusiast with sound business acumen and a passion for customer service to come in and take over a well-established business in a great location.”