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Estarziau goes whole hog for customer service
SOA7-8-16-09
Thousands of motorcyclists flocked to Eagle’s Nest Harley Davidson last month for an appearance by the stars of the hit cable show “Sons of Anarchy.” - photo by Bulletin file photo
LATHROP - It’s all about service – and quickly responding to his customers’ needs – that has put Steve Estarziau in the driver’s seat at the Eagle’s Nest Harley-Davidson in Lathrop.

The general sales manager of the only Harley dealership on I-5 from the Mexican border to Redding, remembers once trying to buy a new motorcycle when sales people at several dealerships failed to get back to him about his interest and for his questions.

When Estarziau went to work at the Eagle’s Nest he vowed that would never happen to one of his customers.  He says he never wants to hear that anyone has not been treated promptly and courteously by his staff members.

The Eagle’s Nest opened its doors in September of 2007 dating back to the beginnings of a Harley-Davidson dealership in Stockton in the 1930s.  Annie Daily, manager of the motor clothes department, coined the name of the new dealership with its large eagle wood carvings flying over the lobby filled with new motorcycles.

Estarziau has been with the firm for nearly four years and has become very involved in the Lathrop community including the chamber of commerce activities, fire department and even the breakfast sessions with the mayor.

After serving in Vietnam he spent many years designing software mostly for dental offices in the Bay Area.  After winding down his business, he went to work for West Marine on a part time basis.  It dove-tailed with his passion for the bay and his 36-foot sail boat.

Three months later West Marine gave him his own store in Oakland.  He would go home on Sundays after working for the week but that didn’t last long as he was moved up to the corporate office where he worked on concept design for a year and a half.

Shopping for a Harley led to career change
In his quest for some recreation, there wasn’t much time for sailing as it needed hours of preparation to get on the water and more time getting the boat home again and into the slip.  For a little recreation it was easier to go into the garage after dinner and take his bike out for a spin.

It was from that point he went shopping for a new Harley and became frustrated by the sales people he met at the different dealerships.  Finally he met someone who was interested in his business, Steve Bestoralarides, who operated the Valley Harley dealership in Stockton.

Bestoralarides was then a member of Stockton City Council and is currently a county supervisor. The two men recognized how well their philosophies matched in dealing with people.  Besides they were both Shriners interested in the well-being of children and children being helped through the Shriners’ Hospital.

In his service with Shriners, Estarziau races go-carts in parades with his Cibara unit out of Sacramento.  

“It’s a blast!” he said, weaving in and out with his team members in the line-of-march.

When he was hired by Eagle’s Nest owner Terry Davis, he told his story about the service he found hard to obtain at numerous dealerships.  Davis was apparently moved by the story that Estarziau vowed not to let happen to any of his customers.

The dealership now has 55 employees – mostly full time – and they are all cross trained so they can be proficient in the different departments of the dealership.  He also serves as one of five instructors who teach the Riders’ Edge Safety Course that covers an entire week with 12 students.

Eagle’s Nest offers Rider’s Edge classes
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is in charge of administering the class.

Riders’ Edge uses the same MSF curriculum as the junior college course on motorcycle riding except it is presented in 25 hours instead of just 15. There are 15 hours are on the bike with 10 additional hours being classroom instruction.

“If the student has a problem, we can do a lot more with them,” he said.  There are time breaks that allow one on one instruction with the novice rider.  New riders are given Buell Blast 492 motorcycles to use for the class along with a helmet and riding gloves.
Estarziau said the Buells are used for two years and then they are offered for sale to former students at cost.  The manufacturer provides a new full two-year warranty with the sale of the motorcycle, he added.

The class sessions include instruction on group riding, being under the influence and avenues to continue riding instruction.  He said that some taking the class have been riding a motorcycle for 30 years and think they can’t learn anything from the class – soon finding they were wrong.
The dealership makes use of a riding range on Highway 120, just east of Austin Road.  

Estarziau and his wife have four grown children --- one son and three daughters.  Jeremy is a member of the Stockton Police Department.  Denise Shiel is in San Diego.  Jamie Asuncion works for Stanislaus County with degree in social science.  Daughter Melanie Estarziau works for a firm in Davis with a degree in Epidemiology – a study of diseases.

They have four grandchildren who put excitement in the off hours plus the thrill of having a new grandson on the way, set for arrival in January.

The motorcycle dealership sales manager is constantly on the run whether it is doing something for the Lathrop Chamber of Commerce, working with Shriners or in being president of the local Hog chapter.

In 2003 Terry Davis, of Manteca, took control of the dealership then known as Valley Harley-Davidson of Stockton.