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Business Owners Argue Over Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary

The motorcycle company's 110th anniversary is next summer, and two Greenfield business owners are already banging heads.

A pair of Greenfield business owners traded insults and barbs for the better part of an hour over what could be the biggest party Greenfield sees this decade.

Heck, there was even an unexpected Peanuts reference as Scott Campbell of Promotion Design LLC and John Schaller, owner of House of Harley-Davidson debated each other’s level of involvement during Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary celebration slated for Aug. 26 through Sept. 3, 2013.

The verbal boxing match, that at times featured Mayor Michael Neitzke and City Attorney Roger Pyzyk as referees Tuesday, stemmed from the Common Council's decision to deny Campbell, the co-owner of Boot Connection, a temporary use permit to use the Towne Center parking lot at 6100-6196 West Layton Avenue as a place for vendors during the nine-day event next summer.

Layton Avenue, a county-owned road, is expected to be closed from 64th to 68th streets with limited access to the businesses along that stretch. Milwaukee County has yet to approve the permit request by House of Harley to close it, but did so for the 100th and 105th anniversaries.

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Back in August, the Common Council granted Campbell a special use permit to use the Bed & Bunks, 6121 W. Layton Ave., parking lot for vendors during the event. Bed & Bunks is immediately next to House of Harley, whereas the Towne Center is across the street and adjacent to residential areas.

“This will likely be the largest event or activity that is hosted in this community that brings the most participants, has the biggest impact on many properties whether they are adjacent to it, or a resident nearby,” Community Development Manager Chuck Erickson said. “We believe, collectively, this is a different circumstance (than Campbell’s Bed & Bunks approval) and that is the basis for the collective denial.”

Erickson said his staff received input from the city’s fire, police and health departments in making the decision for denial.

Campbell said he was just attempting to lease the front grassy area of the lots, and would allow merchandise and beer vendors to set up shop for the week in that area.

“If you can allow House of Harley to have all these beer tents on Layton Avenue and take all this revenue off the street and stop these businesses cold, and they can’t take any money from a promoter, that’s not right,” Campbell said.

“I gave (Bunks & Beds) a good chunk of money for that property, and I want to do the same thing across the street. I’d like to do it at a lot more places, all the way to 68th.”

Schaller said the only problems he had during the 105th celebration were “created by the gypsies that Scott brought in” when he and Campbell partnered to rent the Bunks & Bed lot.

“When I think of Scott Campbell, I sometimes think of the Peanuts character Pigpen,” Schaller said. “Not because he doesn’t wash, but because wherever he goes, he’s followed by a cloud of chaos and unhappiness.

“Scott is loosey-goosey. ‘I don’t understand, I don’t get it, I don’t know what happened’ — the same responses he gave when we had problems with his lot for the 105th.”

Schaller said the difference between him and Campbell is that House of Harley pays for liability insurance for the event, pays for advertising, controls parking, pays for garbage pickups, brings in 24-hour security, will provide entertainment from regional musical acts and much more.

“And Scott will pay for none of it,” Schaller said. “He’ll pay for none of the infrastructure. He sneaks in, tries to take property and get beer permits and we need that money for what we provide.

“We work very hard for a year and a half to two years to make this an even that works. Our track record is spotless for the 100th and 105th, tarnished only by the events Scott had next door to us.”

Schaller said he also provides free vendor space to all businesses along Layton Avenue, if they want it.

Fire Chief Jon Cohn said allowing Campbell to lease the Towne Center space could hamper emergency response times because it is adjacent to a primary access route, and Police Captain Dave Patrick said adding an additional beer tent would spread the police department thin.

JustMe December 05, 2012 at 10:14 PM
It's a pain in the butt for all the residents who don't celebrate this.
Steve Ebbie December 05, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Brings in money to our state and city. Go Harley.
Ann December 05, 2012 at 11:11 PM
take it to the summerfest grounds, state fair grounds or county stadium - doesn't belong in the middle of our major through fare and in our residential neighborhoods. In addition, school activities start taking place. The hassels with the noise, excessive traffic and interfering with our schools is a pain in the a...... - since Harley has the money - let them dish it out to rent a proper facility and have it in one spot . In addition, will keep the drunks down in our neighborhoods -
JustMe December 06, 2012 at 02:41 AM
I agree
KHD December 06, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Agree, I have dealt with that owner of Harley to try and buy a bike, BIG RIP OFF. Move it somewhere else. Does absolutely nothing for our city
Longshots Sports Bar December 06, 2012 at 01:23 PM
This event bring a lot of money to the city of Greenfield that would not otherwise be there! Even if you don't ride it is a great event. They have FREE music all weekend long. So what if you have to go a little bit out of your way to get somewhere because the street is closed. Small price to pay.
KM December 06, 2012 at 02:26 PM
You will still have the traffic as Harley owners like to visit local dealerships. It is more controlled this way.
JustMe December 06, 2012 at 03:09 PM
It's just a bunch of noisy motorcycles clogging up the streets..
Really? December 06, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Good call Longshots.
Really? December 06, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Yes - we wouldn't want to bring in thousands of visitors to the city who otherwise might not come and spend money at local businesses. Why would we want to be a welcoming community to these visitors? Let's close our borders to anyone who would consider coming into Greenfield and promote the idea of seclusion...
robert heule December 06, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Don't screw up the 110th anniversary of Harley, people come here from all over the world. Layton is open 259 out 260 weeks in each 5 year period.
robert heule December 06, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Just me, talking about pain in the butt? So are church festivals.
Really? December 06, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Ann - this has no negative impact on schools or school activities. Most of the smaller gatherings such as the oen put on by our local House of Harley is not sponsored by the Harley Davidson Company. They are put on by the individual owners of the dealerships. The actual Harley Davidson sponsored events are held at larger venues; Miller Park, State Fair, and Summerfest, as they draw even more people than could be accomodated at the local dealerships. Harley Davidson is a local company that is recognized globally as a leader in the industry. I do not ride motorcycles but I understand how much money and recognition this event brings to every community. When people leave the area after the festiviities we will hear endless stories of how much they liked our communities for being a such welcoming places. Hopefully they will not read posts such as some found here on this thread as they may decide to stay away. What a shame that would be. Bring on the roar of the HOGS!
Jake December 06, 2012 at 07:13 PM
IT IS AT the summerfest grounds, state fair grounds or county stadium, AND THEY'RE ALL PACKED!!! in this economy, our communities need every dime generated from the out of town guests, no matter where they go.
Jerry December 07, 2012 at 08:36 AM
Schaller definitely has another motive for not wanting Campbell, of The Boot Connection, to have their set-up at the event, and it has nothing to do with the reasons mentioned in the article. I assume that the Harley-Davidson brand of boots (that Schaller sells) has precidence over the better quality, lower priced boots, that the Boot Connection sells. Like most Harley-Davidson branded items (including the motorcycles) quality at a better price can always be found someplace else. The Boot Connection is a classy store, with quality products, and to imply that "trash" follows Campbell is total nonsense. And like most people who talk too much Schaller just let it out what a moron he is. Schaller is a piece of trash himself, and has too much control over what goes on in the city of Greenfield. If a street gets closed down just for him he better be kinder to the city, and the tax-paying citizens of that city, that is helping him out.
Jerry December 07, 2012 at 08:40 AM
I don't like church festivals either, but they usually keep their stuff to themselves and not close a major street.
Jerry December 07, 2012 at 08:41 AM
Who are you implying is screwing up the 110th ?
Jerry December 07, 2012 at 08:42 AM
And while you are "going Harley" don't forget to stop for your normal maintenance every 700 miles.
KHD December 07, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Shaller Makes alot of money doing this and wants no competition. He wants it ALL For himself. Call Milwaukee county and tell them to not approve the permit. The whole thing is just a pain to have to deal with. It is a safety issue as people drive down the side streets ( not slowly) because the road is closed. Hold the event at summerfest or Miller park, plenty of room for all the dealers to set up shop and all the people that want to attend. Just look at the way Shaller speaks, this is a good citizen? No more of this please. Stop the unneeded disruption to a major street.
Really? December 07, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Great examples of people looking out for themselves. I had a bad experience at a dealership which means everyone else must too. I don't like the awful inconvenience of having to use Edgerton Ave. instead of Layton so everyone else must not like it either. I don't like all the noise so ... and it goes on and on. There are 300 some odd million people that live in our country alone. You folks realize we can't all live in our own little secluded bubble. We need to look out for everyone, not just ourselves. This event will bring in enough people to probably double the population of Milwaukee County. If you are so bothered by it plan your summer getaway around this schedule.
KHD December 07, 2012 at 09:48 PM
People should plan their summer get away around this schedule, REALLY? hahahahahahahahahhahaha. Just like Harley was looking out for our community when they told workers to accept their proposal or we are moving to a different state. REALLY?
Really? December 07, 2012 at 10:27 PM
People who take themselves and their thoughts/opinions too seriously don't get sarcasm. However, people actually do plan their vacations arounfd this celebeation. Those visiting to enjoy the sights and sounds of our attractions have done so faithfully two times and now a third times over the past 15 years. It is a geeat event for our state! They aren't going away so you can focus on the things you don't like or look for something else to fill up your time and make you happy. If you don't lime a show on TV change the channel. If you don't like Harley Fest... find something else and allow those who participate to enjoy it. If the city has isues with participants they deal with them just as they did with Dan Jensen fest a couple of years back. If you don't like it change your channel. It's a big city!
robert heule December 07, 2012 at 11:25 PM
@Jerry: answer to question No. 1. The city or the county if they listen to you and cancel the event. Response to your comment on church festivals. Loud music after 10:00 pm, drunks driving from the festivals. Illegal gambling which the police turn their backs to and ignore. and drunks peeing on peoples' lawns. Supervisor Mark Borkowski uses taxpayers money to advertise for the money changers at churches.
Really? December 08, 2012 at 03:51 AM
KHD - great point about Harley's discussion about moving out of state. A business would never do that to a community. We can just ask the people of Stillwater Oklahoma and Fond du Lac Wisconsin, who were both told by Mercury Marine about the possibility of them leaving the communities unless concessions were made. Well, don't ask the good people of Stillwater as things didn't work out so well for them. The companies actually were looking out for our community by letting them know if there weren't changes they would have to move. It gave the workers the ability to see if things could be changed to maintain their jobs and a partner with the community. The alternative is to play "chicken" with the company as the bakers at Hostess did and of course we know how that worked out. BTW my first sentence was sarcastic for those that could not read into it.
robert heule December 08, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Here is an example of part of the Greenfield collective brain The owner of a bar in Greenfield refused to serve Harley riders at the 100th anniversary in 2003. The reason, his wife was fired by Harley 20 years before. Don't cause another international embarrassment by dumping the event. the reason being
Jerry December 08, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Oh Ok. I just don't attend church festivals, so I didn't know that all went on. I don't live close to a church that has one either. It sounds like I have the same attitude as you towards them
robert heule December 08, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Jerry I'm glad I was able to help inform you, good luck
robert heule December 08, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Let cut the horsesh-- and let all the businesses do what they want.

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