Pottstown >> When Randy Kiss announced in November that he would be closing Kiss Cycles, he knew he had a lot of work in front of him before he could truly retire.
After all, the business — started by his grandfather Frank Kiss Sr. in 1913 — had been in the same location for its entire history. Over the years, the business expanded its footprint under the direction of Frank Kiss Jr. and Randy Kiss — acquiring two adjacent properties.
Fast-forward about six months from the announcement — and one phase of the post-closing work is about be resolved — an auction of items that have been accumulating inside the property at 18, 22 and 26 East High Street.
“There is a lot of emotion and it’s kind of bittersweet for me,” Kiss said. “But I am prepared for whatever takes place this week.”
The auction is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, July 7 and 8, starting at 9 a.m. both days at the property on East High Street. There is a preview scheduled for Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The auction is being handled by Good Old Boys Country Auction of York, with auctioneer Bob Sholly.
Kiss said he found out about Sholly from a customer. As it turns out, Sholly also has a family connection to motorcycles. Not only did his uncle operate a motorcycle shop in York for many years, but Sholly himself was a professional motorcycle racer. His uncle and Kiss’ father knew each other.
“They were the pioneers,” Sholly said.
Kiss said he knew the Sholly name from the motorcycle world, but didn’t realize he was doing auctions.
“He knows this business and he’s passionate about it,” Kiss said.
Kiss reached out to Sholly toward the end of February, and since then they have been working to get ready for the auction.
That has meant going through boxes and file cabinets — in three buildings — to see what was there, deciding what to sell and what to keep and then getting it all ready.
“I was surprised at some of the things we found,” Kiss said during an interview and walkthrough of the property Monday. “A lot of what we stored got put into the warehouse years ago, and then things got put in front of it so we didn’t really know what was there.”
One of the things they discovered was a set of tools that were inscribed with the name Indian Motorcycle.
“I had never seen them before, so I figure they must have been my grandfather’s tools,” Kiss said. They also uncovered Indian Motorcycle sportswear and a pair of coveralls.
Some of the items in the auction include several motorcycles, new motorcycle parts and accessories, old parts and accessories, tires, tailpipes, seats, motors, gas tanks and much more.
Some of the Pottstown history for sale includes memorabilia from the Pottstown Motorcycle Club including a banner and a sign. There is also a safety banner award given to the shop in 1941.
Sholly expects the auction to draw a crowd, saying he has been contacted by people from all over, including Texas and the Midwest.
“It’s a good sale, a heck of a sale. You really don’t find things like this very often. I am proud to have this sale,” Sholly said.
Customers must bring a letter of credit from the bank when they come to the auction, proving they have the funds available that day to purchase, Sholly explained.
Walking through the space Tuesday, Kiss would pause to look at or pick up an item.
“I wanted to keep some things for my children, and I did. But of course I can’t keep it all. We do have some things we’ll store,” he said, adding that he and long-time partner Paula Richard have already gone through the property and identified some things they want to keep and things they plan to donate.
One of the items Kiss plans to keep is a sign from the front of the building, although he said he wasn’t sure where they would keep it — the couple lives in a 900 square-foot house. He does plan to hold on to one of the buildings, however, because it has a garage to store his personal motorcycles — which he admits he and Richard haven’t had much opportunity to use — yet.
“We did ride a bit early in the year, but lately it has been nothing but work,” he said.
In June, Kiss and Richard took a quick trip to Cherrystone Camping Resort in Virginia. It was just a 4-night trip, but Kiss said they camped, crabbed and fished — and had a wonderful time.
“I have never done any of that except for a little fishing with my grandfather,” Kiss said, adding the couple wants to take another trip to the resort.
While the auction is bittersweet, Kiss said it is something that must happen so that he can move forward with his retirement. He said he has no regrets about his decision to close the business.
“A lot of the stress is gone. I definitely feel better — I could tell that in the first couple of weeks,” he said. “We’ve been working hard to prepare for the auction, but it is all to get to the point where I can say, ‘my time is my time.’”
Kiss added that the original store, 18 E. High St. is under an agreement of sale, but said it is too soon to discuss specifics. Another piece of the property, 22 E. High St., which totals 20,000 square feet, is also for sale.
For more information about the auction visit http://www.auctionzip.com/PA-Auctioneers/34377.html. Friday and Saturday’s auctions will feature different items, and that information is outlined online.
Kiss said he plans to have a food truck on hand during the auction.
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