INVESTING IN ORANGE-Local Business to be Tourist Destination
by Ginger Broomes
Orange – When Mark Frey and Ed Van Huis bought the former Triple L Honda on Strickland Drive in 2019, they already had a vision of what the Honda motorsports dealership would become. And that vision is coming to fruition not only with a name change, but with the opening of their new location off of Interstate 10 and Tejas Road.
The new location will have an initial footprint of 35,000 square feet, plus 3,000 s.f. of warehouse space, and is strategically located along the I-10 service road along the same corner that houses Free State Cellars winery, which is planning its own expansion. With Mark and Ed’s 2019 purchase, Triple L became Honda of Orange, and now Honda of Orange is Columbanus Motor Sports. Frey chose the Columbanus name to encompass all of the brands they will sell and service, including Honda, Indian, Triumph, and more, as well as their outdoor power equipment.
Saint Columbanus was a roving Irish monk who wandered up and down Europe in the 6th and 7th centuries. This love of the open road inspired the Rev. John Oliver, an Angelican bishop and biker, to suggest St. Columbanus as the patron of motorcyclists. The new store will be much more than a motorcycle and outdoor power equipment location. Not only will it continue to serve their local customers, but will be a tourist destination for visitors off I 10, and an entertainment venue for all.
They are in Phase I of a planned three-phase development. Phases I and II will be completed before the grand opening, which will take place October 15th through 16th. These phases include completion of the Indian Motorcycle showroom, and outdoor power section, as well as adding the Honda section, and the Triumph motorcycle brand. Phase III will add a second floor to the building, to include a café, office spaces and conference room. The goal is to add an entertainment venue later, complete with outdoor stage and a permanent home for the Boss Burgers food truck. Eventually there will be more buildings and products offered – after all, only three acres of the six-acre tract the duo has purchased has been developed thus far.
The grand opening celebration weekend will kick off Friday, October 15th with a ribbon cutting at 9 am, Gator 99.5 broadcasting live, and food trucks. The event will continue Saturday, with a concert by the Smokey Romance band until 8:00 pm. Both days will feature free food and activities for the kids, and several motorcycle organizations in attendance.
Frey plans to host monthly events, and to also cater to travelers along Interstate 10, offering a place for travelers to rest, regroup, eat and shop. From the planned café, to memorabilia, to the vast antique bike display and multiple restrooms, he sees Columbanus Motor Sports catching the attention of visitors from all over, allowing them to see the tourism possibilities here in Orange, Texas.
The new location will open today, 9/15 at 9:00 am. However, the service department will remain at the Strickland Drive location for about another week or so.
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