PLAINVILLE — Longing for more time for expeditions on his own motorbikes, Stephen Hill, owner of The Moped Warehouse, is planning on retiring and is searching for someone to take over the business he has run for over 40 years.
“I have a lot of other interests and I don't want to be so old as to not be able to pursue them,” he said. "I'm still an avid rider and if I retire that's a much bigger part of my deal. Last summer at the height of the scooter season I took off on a 3,000 mile motorcycle trip. I kind of want to do more of that.”
While he’s enjoyed his decades of tinkering away with the garage door to his Town Line Road storefront open in the warmer months, Hill, who is 66, said he can’t keep spending 60-hour weeks keeping the business going and has already received some queries from outside parties interested in taking over. Regardless of how those conversations work out, he intends for this season to be his last.
"I'd love it if there was some new blood. The ideal situation for this store would be that it get absorbed into another store, another existing business where this would be a sideline to that business," he said.
So far though, his love of the work and the friends that drop by to visit have kept him going.
"Being self-employed, never has there been a time where I've looked at the clock and gone anything other than, 'how am I going to get everything done that I wanted done today?' And that is so much a better way to live," he said.
Hill has been scaling his business back for years in preparation for his retirement, reducing his wares and deciding to no longer sell motorcycles, 4-wheelers and toys as he has in the past. "If it had a motor in it I sold it," he said.
Mopeds and scooters remained the core of his business because they’re simple to own and sell and Hill continues to own one of his own, along with a host of motorcycles.
"These are vehicles that require no registration, no insurance, no property tax. You buy it, drive it out the door and you're done,” Hill said. “That makes it a very simple product to own and operate, also as a dealer you're not required to have any special license above and beyond a resale certificate.”
He’s even had customers return to using scooters for their daily transportation and selling their car after finding the cost of ownership, insurance and gas to be too high.
"You can't pigeon-hole this customer, they come from all walks of life,” Hill said. “There will be the 75-year-old guy who owned an Indian motorcycle back in the 60's and wants to have that thrill again all the way to the 16-year-old kid whose parents are recognizing they can't afford to keep a car under them and this is a very economical way for them to ride.”
Having recently purchased his third bike from Hill, Tony Tufano said his family has always had good experiences with the shop, with quick repairs and professional service.
“We’re going to miss him,” Tufano said.