Parker Bros. Powersports closing

Parker Bros.' website details their closure.


Parker Bros.' website details their closure.
Parker Bros.’ website details their closure.

Parker Bros. Powersports has been serving motorcyclists in the GTA for two decades, but that’s coming to an end. They’re closing the Kipling Ave. shop down.

Shop owner David Grummett sent an email out to customers last week, assuring them he’d do his best to make sure they didn’t lose out due to the closure. The email says the shop will honour storage contracts until the first week of April, and that all needed repair work was completed on stored bikes before they were put away for the winter.

Read the body of his email below; there’s a moral to the story for everyone …

Sorry to say but after 20 years of serving GTA motorcyclists the Parker Bros era has come to an end. The store is now closed. Unlike those who past before us we did fight it for all it was worth. We tried to hold on until spring but this week the writing was on the wall. We tried to end it with minimal damage to both customers and suppliers. With that said it can never be completely clean and I must apologize to any who might experience a loss. My hands are some what tied but I will do my best to make sure no customers are out of pocket.(please contact me at For those with bike in storage or in service, don’t panic, see below.

I would like to thank all our great customers over the years. In the last couple years our financial handcuffs prevented us from offering the level of service you deserved and yet you remained loyal. No bitternes intended but this is my last email so I can say for all of you who are not loyal to your neighbourhood bike shop and cross border shop or drive 2 hours to save a dime, “take a bite”. I can also say that when you are making a purchase be it a bike or parts or riding gear, the profits the dealer makes are very small and he/she is certainly not retiring on your purchase. Be good to your local shop and they will be good to you, enough said.

I would also like to thank all the ex-employees of Parker Bros. We had a great family and I always felt truly blessed that everyone gave 100% to make sure the customer was happy. Two of the people now unemployed and looking for work are Rick Rundberg (mechanic) and Chris Dring (parts, sales, service, etc). If you know someone in need, these guys are awesome.

Staffing from the start (1992) to finish Dave, Jil, Allison, Kyle & Megan Grummett , Bryan Rolls, Bill Lehman, Rob C, Glen V, Johnny 5, Claire M, Frank Wilson, Alastair Walker, Glenn Yatabe, Sasha Soloviov, Chris Dring, Dave Moss, Steven Able, Rob Yocco, Gary Hesmer, Will Gonidas, Will Gorelle, Rick Mik, Jenn Mik, Shayne Waters. Eric Sum, Rick Gunby, Chad Martin, Andy Gale & Rick Rundberg. Sorry if I forgot anyone.

I would also like to thank all of my suppliers. Although we didn’t always see eye to eye on cross border pricing I do appreciate our relationshps and thank you for your support.

Storage Bikes
All contracts for bikes in storage will be honoured until the 1st week of April. All work to the bikes was done prior to them being winterized. Upon your notification we will deliver within 3 days. Email

Service Bikes
Our intentions are to complete all bikes in for service in a timely manner and deliver them to the customers. Should we fail to complete we will arrange for drop off at another shop for completion. Again for details please contact”


  1. Another one bites the dust….. Old favorites (McBride, Cycle World..) and even newer ones (Kahuna…) have gone broke…. Simple economics. Be competitive or become extinct.

    PS… I’m the guy who will drive (better yet ride) to wherever I find the best deal. I’m a single income provider of a family of 6 living in Toronto…. I better be good at math, or I’d also be bankrupt. Simple economics.

  2. I spent fourteen summers working as a motorcycle mechanic in and around Toronto from 1971 to 1985. During the off season I would go to university. I loved working on motorcycles and my father, a professional businessman, also loved motorcycles. I had finished my teacher’s degree in 1984 but my father thought we should look into opening a motorcycle dealership. After having a few meetings with distributors my father decided the conditions imposed by the distributors, the amount of investment needed and the potential earnings didn’t allow much probability for success. He suggested I continue with my plans for a career as a teacher. I now have a fully paid, nice home, a good pension and could afford better motorcycles than I could when I was working as a mechanic. I also had the summers off to ride. You should only combine your hobby with your career when the numbers crunch correctly or are willing to consciously sacrifice earning potential and security.

  3. My heart just broke, I havent rode in a few years, this year I was going to put the bike back on the road, i googled Parkerbros as I wanted to check something out as usual and got this thread…. wow… another great shoppe done with, what a stand up place with that closing….. sorry to lose you, im at a loss for words.

  4. El Marko I think you should loose the The world owes me a living attitude and live in reality. It is more expensive to do business in Canada (ie taxes /comp) and our dealers are struggling. if you cant be in the sport than take up golf. You are the asshole customer that me friends in the business dread. Go away

  5. It is sad to see another shop go but I don’t accept blaming competition from the US or anywhere. When I lived in Saskatoon they had no problem taking a sale away from my local shop and they shouldn’t be hurt if they loose sales to someone else that offers a better price, selection or service.

  6. “the Canadian dollar is riding high due the the emphasis on a “resource based economy”, actually a lot of that is is due to an intentionally devalued US dollar and a Euro that has been devalued becasuse of mismanagement, gross socialist leaning mismanagement.

    El Marco is absolutely right though, the world has changed dramatically. More and more small and perhaps large businesses will close in the coming years. Larger volume merchants like Wally Mart etc., who reap a large portion of their profit from investment and little on the actual product they sell will continue to push out their competition in numerous sectors. As these companies gain in power they are able to demand concessions from suppliers such as “vendor managed inventory” where the supplier retains ownership of the products he has placed in the store and only gets paid for items actually sold.

    Yes the world has changed and we’re ALL going to be MUCH poorer for it.

  7. Wow … OK as a small Canadian motorcycle dealer and service shop …
    I can not bash the 70% of the population that buys on price … I can not bash the customer that cross border shops to buy the tire for 55% less than my distributors sugested list. (15% less than I pay)
    BUT only 20% of my gross comes from labour and I pay 24 hours for a shop that books 8 hours at best in that same time period. ( read brake even ) the only part of my business that makes money is the parts and if I have to buy them from the US the border costs will bite off too big a piece. (I just recieved a warranty part that cost me 40.00 border fees) In spite of the fact that in B.C. it is ilegal to charge money for work on a vehicle registered for road use without a ICBC garage pollicy and you can not get the insurance pollicy without a zoned location the back yard mechanic is doing a grand business locally.
    So Pierre, El Marco and those of you that do not like the status quo tell me what I should do.
    Any sugestion you can suggest other than “try another business” or “continue to live in poverty” I have probably tried.
    Do not bother lamenting my praise after I am gone. Patronise me while I am open. It might not be for long.

    • If there was a simple solution… then the problem would already be fixed. Take my situation… the Canadian dollar is riding high due the the emphasis on a “resource based economy”, traditional international markets for the type of things that I help manufacture.. have dried up (read about “Dutch disease”). My job too is at peril (all the more reason to pinch pennies). Should I…
      Try to use guilt to get the customers to pay more? Well that is not likely to work.
      Try to stop Alberta from squeezing oily goo out of the ground? Not likely to happen either.

      The good old days are gone and not likely to come back (also, throw in the effects of a massive shift in demographics). We have to strive towards a more balanced economy. Voting differently in the next election would help.

      The business model has to change. A small part of it is that price discrepancies have to be addressed.

      • When you buy your consumer goods at Walmart or FutureShop, they tell you upfront ‘don’t bring it back here for warranty or repair’.
        Maybe its time for the BIG players to think about establishing service/warranty centres and not make the retailers’ living based on unit sales with resultant high operating costs ?
        That way, a fella could devote time. energy and $$$ to something other than moving machines and apparel…?
        Just sayin’…

        • “That way, a fella could devote time. energy and $$$ to something other than moving machines and apparel…?”

          I don’t think promoting more superstores is the answer. Moving away from personalized service and support is, IMO, never the answer. It goes way beyond the price of sales versus the price/availability of support, too. When you have a few companies owning all the businesses, consumer choice is limited and the consumer environment devolves into monopolies. Diminished consumer choice is never a good thing.

          This trend has long been seen in media, where, for example, ALL of the major American media outlets are owned by 5 or 6 megacorporations. This means that one cannot easily find news/information that hasn’t been tainted by Big Money.

          The other issue is one of infrastructure: In times of economic crisis, major cities can suffer tremendous problems that make it difficult to sustain business. A well-supported rural shop, in contrast, will see a much more subtle shift in its business because the flow of money to/from is so localized.

          It’s a complex issue, but the death of ma-pa shops is a nail in our collective cultural coffin that really shouldn’t be ignored or promoted.

  8. Since when is the public responsibility for making other people (shops) a living. Last I looked I was free to do what I please with my $$. This is not welfare. If I choose to support a shop locally then I can do that. If I choose to have my money pay bigger dividends then I can do that. Time to look a the facts and its $$ that drives everything. Let me think oh yes the shop owners also want to save money too. Its simply the scales of economy, don’t tell me they have never cross border shopped. I guess there is a sense of entitlement that effects everyone. Including the Federally CPF sponsored site I’m reading right now. I will continue to read it because my tax $$ goes to it and I didn’t even have a choice !!! …you will never guess it but yes I buy my bikes from Canada! I certainly don’t lay blame on those who do not.

    • Of course, it isn’t the public’s responsibility for ensuring shops earn a living. That said, some of the most vocal whining/moaning about lack of local-based service come from those folks who buy at far-away superstores to save $$$ on the purchase. These people want it both ways: Big savings on purchases and excellent available locally-sourced service. The only way to make the latter a reality is to ensure the money flows locally from start to finish.

      This isn’t rocket science. It’s basic economics. For smaller shops to be able to compete on price, they need to get enough volume to be able to lower their prices per unit. *shrug* These conversations aren’t limited to the bike world, either; plenty of musicians happily save huge bucks on purchases at Guitar Center and the like, only to whinge and complain about not being able to get their instrument serviced locally when it needs repair.

      We reap what we sew.

  9. Ah, if only the difference in price was truely a “dime”. For years we were fed the line about exchange rates on the Canadian vs US dolllar. Then, when we reached par, we were told inventory was bought on last years exchange rate and it would take a year to correct. Then our dollar went above par and Americans should have been flocking to Canada to buy motorcycles. Still, even goods made in Canada sold for less in the USA.
    All lies. None of the arguments justify the huge difference in price on bikes and accessories. The consumer is not to blame for seeking out good value… one of the basic tenents of Capitalism.
    What about warrenty and repairs? Same deal, put my bike on the trailer and drive it down to NH. Good prices, no tax… they are happy to have my money. Take the wife to a nice hotel and dinner with the savings. Great PR for the riding season.
    Dear Canadian business… change or lose it all.

    • And what do you do for a living El Marco ?
      I’d venture its nothing to do with retail sales and marketing.
      Why not just move to NH and have done with it…?

      • So, because I have the audacity to ask for fair pricing…the best solution is that I should leave Canada? Instead of a clever quip…how about some real proof. Tell me why I should pay between 25% and 150% in excess of the US price.
        Believe me, most of us would understand and accept if the difference was a realistic 10 to 15 percent.

          • 1 case (10 x 1 quart) Klotz full synthetic oil. $212 shipped from YYZ to YOW … $90 from NH. This is just one example. Do you want more? Lots More!
            Just to be clear, I do not blame that retailer. But somebody is getting greedy.

  10. “Oh, we’ve heard all the fairy tales about “more expensive to do business in Canada”, but CBC’s Marketplace completely blew this out of the water a few weeks ago…”

    You can’t be serious.
    As we in Ontario sit at home on a government mandated paid holiday.
    With wages and payroll taxes far in excess of competition in the US, with higher transportation costs etc, etc, etc, etc. operating a small(ish) business in Canada is far more expensive than in the US which in this case would provide the online competition.
    As a small business owner I have experienced it first hand and learned about the tremendous difference in input costs between US and Canadian firms. With all due respect (to you)…Marketplace MY ARSE!

  11. Fact is most of the shops that have survived have done so only on quads and sleds. This is where big H has issues: they don’t make a sled, and they won’t allow their dealers to carry other brands.(two have disappeared in my region)(and another thing, they don’t make a truck- total suicide)
    New bikes don’t need work like the older ones did. Unless something major happens in the first month, it only needs oil changes. Dirt bikes are a different breed- they are constantly modded with aftermarket parts, which doesn’t help the distributor.
    We don’t need a big showroom with lots of shiny brand new bikes. Keep a simple repair shop off the main streets for lower rent. The independent (non license) harley shops are a good model. Small shops outside of the high rent retail districts with some old guy who knows how to wrench.

  12. It’s a shame, but the reason for this loss is not cross-border or online shopping: it’s the manufacturers and their distributing arms in Canada. The could have lowered their wholesale prices to shops like Parker Bros to match the one offered to American resellers, but they have gotten used to charging more in Canada.

    Until the distributors sell to Canadian shops at the same price (or very near the same), this is going to continue to happen because Canadians will go where the prices are lower. You can’t blame us for saving money, can’t you? Oh, we’ve heard all the fairy tales about “more expensive to do business in Canada”, but CBC’s Marketplace completely blew this out of the water a few weeks ago…

    What NEEDS to happen is for Canadian resellers and retail shops to start getting their supplies from American distributors. Once the thieves here are not getting orders, they’ll have to lower their wholesale prices to the local shops.

    Come on retail guys, you have Nexus cards like everyone, use your imagination and intelligence! Make partnerships with American resellers (far from the border, of course!), create retailer associations that can effectively respond to the Canadian distributors! Don’t go down whining and crying, find ways to fight!

    And you, Mr. Harper: why don’t you start working to open borders to everyone instead of protecting your Big Business friends? The day that I’m allowed to go buy a brand new Honda or Kawasaki (pick any brand you like) in the US and just drive it home no-questions-asked, that’s the day these companies will adjust their prices in Canada…

    • Infrastructure, rent, heat, wages all cost money. Take a look around Pierre L., how many dealerships have gone tits up in the last few years ? At the risk of repeating myself, what are you going to do when something goes wrong and you need warranty replacement or repair ? As my good buddy who was the service writer at the shop I worked in for many years once told an ‘only on price’ shopper, ” take the money you saved on the initial purchase, put your broken motorcycle in a cab and take it back where you bought it”. Here in the GTA there is hardly anyone left to buy from, so it must be the retailers’ fault ? Give your head a shake…

  13. Their Motorcycle Super Show Booth was always my first stop, meaning I had to lug a bag of ‘stuff’ around for the rest of the day. Got some great deals from them over the years, so Im sorry to hear about their closing. Nice to read their final email. A class act til the end. Many shops just lock the doors and walk.
    From the list of past employees ..So there never were Parker Brothers ?

  14. This is the new reality of online buying. Is there a point to having a dealer order a part from an online catalogue when the customer can order the same part from home on a tablet? The brick and mortar stores must specialize in areas that online can’t do. As far as I’m concerned, the big four should just send up unsold inventory from the states rather than have a warehouse in Canada.

    • Then hope like the dickens you never have a warranty, service or ‘out of warranty’ issue. The link between distributors, dealers and consumers must be respected. Keeping the ‘mom and pop’ shops alive is crucial. In my experience, the guys that scream the loudest are the ones that didn’t respect that…

        • Not me, that’s for sure. Back in the late ’80s, I was parts manager for Gran Prix Cycle on O’Connor Dr. in Toronto. It was one of several shops in the day that didn’t manage to survive the recession, and it was heartbreaking to see it happen. So, as much as I appreciate saving a buck, I’m very aware of the real pain of losing a brick-and-mortar shop.

          And, FWIW, being parts manager of that shop to this day remains my favourite, all-time job.

  15. This was a great shop I enjoyed going to when I lived in Toronto. I “rented” a helmet from them to do my original rider training course and then they applied that rental fee toward my first helmet purchase. As a former small business owner, I really feel their pain. I’m glad he’s laid it out as well as he has in this message, though sorry it had to come to this.

  16. Online commerce, cross border shopping and the big box stores have killed another good shop.
    I hope all those folks that took their business elsewhere have fun when they need warranty or something repaired in a timely, honest manner…

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