Paul Binford now has his empire.
On Saturday the longtime Manteca businessman and custom motorcycle manufacturer will welcome friends, family and the general public to his business’s new location for an outdoor bash to celebrate his new digs – a refurbished 6,000-square-foot grocery store and eatery that will serve as the headquarters of the brand that the Turlock native has built over nearly two decades.
It’s a major step up for the motorcycle maker that helped put Manteca on the two-wheel map with magazine covers and even an appearance on the Discovery Channel – who visited the cramped Main Street headquarters of his growing business to film the show. When Binford first started here in town 17 years ago he only 900 square feet to operate his business. As both his needs and the scale of his projects expanded, so did the need for more space.
So when the property at 1297 N. Main Street, the pink building that was previously a Mexican market, became available, Binford sunk what he had saved into purchasing the corner lot and transforming what was once an eyesore into something that the city and its residents could be proud of.
While the permitting process wasn’t easy, Binford said that he’s determined to make the building a destination for two-wheeled travelers and a welcome sight for those who access the community and its commercial corridor off of the Highway 99/Lathrop Road interchange that was completed this year.
“This is what I dreamed of my entire life and while it’s not as big as some of the big boys out there, and it represents the 209 and what we can do and it’s an empire to me,” Binford said. “Basically what we’ve done is taken a building that would have been just sitting here and was frequented by the well-traveled homeless in the community and turned it into something that I always wanted – a shop that will allow us to do everything and I think it’ll be a great addition to the community here on the north end of Main Street.”
Despite the complications over permitting, Binford has completely transformed the building from what was an abandoned pink eyesore into a place that motorcycle enthusiasts will go crazy over the minute that they walk through the door.
While he always had a reputation for building some of the “baddest bikes around,” Binford said he was always hamstrung by the space limitations that his previous location provided. Some of the custom fabrication work had to be performed off-site, and the custom motorcycles that gained him notoriety and exposure among the tight-knit community were often stored off-site because there simply wasn’t enough room inside of the building to keep the beastly machines.
And as a result, the day-to-day operations that both pay the bills and allow the expensive foray into custom bike building – retail sales and parts – was somewhat stifled by the lack of space. While every single wall inside of the building was basically covered to provide what Binford said was the most exhaustive and extensive collection of parts and additions anywhere in this part of the Central Valley – including the Harley Davidson dealerships themselves – it always could have been a little bit bigger.
A little bit nicer.
A little bit more convenient.
Well now he has all of that in spades.
In addition to having more wall space – which is ironically rapidly running out as he prepares to open the store to the public sometimes soon – Binford has two platforms constructed inside that showcase two motorcycles that are among the best that the shop has ever produced.
Just inside of the door is the “Panty Dropper” – the bike that Binford and his crew built on 30-inch rims for the Discovery Channel biker build-off challenge against two other custom fabricators in Northern California. The entire motorcycle, from the frame to the rims to the ornate detailed, is completely customized and shows just what a little bit of ingenuity, some planning, and a talented crew are able to pull off in a short amount of time.
Another riser against the showroom’s back wall features an intricately detailed 1990 Harley Davidson FXR Super Glide that was stripped down and completely customized for a Manteca man – the second pedestal bike that he always wanted to have in his other location but never had the space.
While he has no plans on retiring or going anywhere anytime soon, Binford said that the new facility will basically be the pinnacle of the brand that he has slowly built by providing a combination of standard motorcycle services and high-priced custom work.
“This is my last rodeo right here,” he said from behind the counter of the new shop. “We aren’t done yet, and while the city permitting might be holding us up a bit, we’re going to keep on doing everything that we’ve been doing and a whole lot more.
“That’s the way that things always have been, and now we’re going to have a place where customers can come in and truly relax and enjoy the atmosphere – that’s what this place is all about. We’ve got everything now that I’ve always wanted to have. We even have a shipping and receiving area in here – this place is the Taj Mahal to me.”
On Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Binford’s Custom Cycles will be holding their open house at the new store and will feature “one of the biggest and best bike shows in Northern California” along with food, refreshments, and music. Stunt rider Jason Pullen will be on hand to entertain the crowd, and music will be provided by Suicide Shift. Well-known bike builders like Phoenix’s John Shope of Dirty Bird Concepts, Sean Belitsos of TOL Designs, Corey Ness of Arlen Ness Motorcycles, and Joe Gschweng of KoolMetal Inc. will be presenting custom-made trophies to the winners of certain individual categories. Binford’s Custom Cycles is located at 1297 N. Main Street.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.