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Fowlers opens new Kawasaki showroom

It’s one of the biggest dealers in the UK, with stacks of history and reputation behind it. And now Fowlers of Bristol has added a spanking new Kawasaki showroom to its massive city-centre location.

Opened last month by WSBK rider Alex Lowes, the new facility gives the firm’s Kawasaki franchise its own new building and stylish store frontage, with nearly 3000sq.ft of showroom space. The new unit will focus entirely on Kawasaki’s range of bikes and will be supported by service backup from Fowlers’ massive existing parts and workshop infrastructure on the Bath Road.

The new Kawasaki showroom includes a new seating area with hot drinks for customers to relax. It will offer the full range of official Kawasaki kit and accessories and quality used machines. The official opening on 7 May saw a massive turnout from local bike fans, with demo rides, goody bags and live music, and an interview and signing session from Alex Lowes and Charlotte Marcuzzo, who rides a Kawasaki in British Junior Supersport for the FHO team.

The firm took on Kawasaki at a tumultuous time, back in January 2020, just before the Covid-19 pandemic kicked off. And part of that deal was that the marque would get its own showroom, separate from the firm’s extensive lineup of other bike brands: Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Triumph, KTM, Husqvarna and Aprilia.

Building the separate unit should have been a formality – but the miseries of the past couple of years made life difficult for the firm, and its new manager Steve Hodder, who moved over from Bristol Kawasaki.

The new building was constructed on land Fowlers already owned, so there was no problem with sourcing real estate or gaining planning permission. However, the main building contractor had to hold off on a start date for the project until they had the raw materials needed in place – building supplies being seriously restricted all through the pandemic period. The result was both good and bad: the project was held back at first, but then there were no holdups caused by material shortages during construction. The location next to the River Avon did mean that extra deep piling was needed for the building foundations, but there were no other issues with the build.

Part of the new unit was built in an area of the staff car park. As an interim measure, the Kawasaki stock moved into the Harrys Café premises (the Café had moved outdoors to an Airstream caravan during restrictions on indoor mixing).

Fowlers took over the Kawasaki franchise for the Southwest area from Bristol Kawasaki (formerly Avon Kawasaki), which was owned by the Drive Vauxhall automotive group. The Avon Street premises were being re-developed into student accommodation, and the car group was looking to move away from two wheels.

Fowlers’ new purpose-built Kawasaki centre is located next door to the firm’s existing premises, its home for the past 40 years, which is located near Bristol Temple Meads railway station on the Bath Road.

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