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Motorcycle dealership opens in large former Middletown Target location

Owners Aaron and Bria Brown stand outside the new Octane Outlet of Middletown that has opened in the former Target store between Kohl's and Lowe's in Middletown. The motorcycle and powersports dealer more than tripled their floor space from their Middletown Cycle location on Commerce Drive. The 93,000-square-foot building features a wide variety of motorcycles, atvs, side-by-sides, watercraft, parts and accessories and a full service department. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Owners Aaron and Bria Brown stand outside the new Octane Outlet of Middletown that has opened in the former Target store between Kohl's and Lowe's in Middletown. The motorcycle and powersports dealer more than tripled their floor space from their Middletown Cycle location on Commerce Drive. The 93,000-square-foot building features a wide variety of motorcycles, atvs, side-by-sides, watercraft, parts and accessories and a full service department. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

After several months of preparations and coronavirus-caused changes, Octane Outlet had a soft opening about four weeks ago, and the owner said he’s already seeing a lot of new faces.

At the end of January, Aaron Brown and his wife Bria closed on the former Target store building, 6775 Roosevelt Parkway, to move and expand the former Middletown Cycle from its Commerce Drive location. In 2006, the Browns acquired Middletown Cycle, the city’s oldest and largest motorcycle and powersports dealer. About five years ago, they opened Octane Outlet of Eastgate.

“We know a lot of our customers,” Aaron Brown said. “It’s been phenomenal so far with all the new faces coming into the store. A lot of people want to check out the new digs, buy merchandise or look at the motorcycles and Sea-Doos.”

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“We’ve been ‘Middletown Strong’ for so long, we couldn’t leave. It was important to us to take this building.”

Brown is hoping to have a reopening celebration sometime in August pending COVID-19 restrictions.

“Being known now as Octane Outlet really drives the message that we are offering more than just a single brand or two. Right now, we offer Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, and BRP brands,” Brown said.

He said the business is one of the largest dealers in the Midwest for the Can-Am products. The store also offers side-by-sides, watercraft, ATVs, clothing, accessories and more. Brown said they had hoped to be open the doors to the new location about 90 days after closing, but were delayed due to COVID-19.

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Brown said the move to the new location west of the Interstate 75/Ohio 122 interchange has tripled their floor space in Middletown. Brown said the 93,000 square-foot store has more than 300 motorcycles and other powersports equipment such as personal watercraft such as Sea-Doo. The expansion also allows the company to offer more brands, products, services and parts. The former location has been placed for sale.

“We carry something for everyone,” Brown said.

The size of the building easily allows social distancing for customers, he said.

COVID-19 put the former Coast Guard rescue swimmer to the test when the supply chains for the businesses were slowed and/or shut down. COVID-19 affected his supply chain for parts, vehicles and merchandise from China, Japan, Mexico, Canada and from California.

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“We had to go elsewhere to get supply to meet our demand,” he said. “It kind of hurt us but we’ve been aggressive in getting product. My military background forced me to keep finding new sources. We went through the 2008 recession and we don’t give up easily.”

He said they put in an order for 170 Sea-Doo personal watercraft, but had 70% of the order cut by the manufacturer because of COVID-19, so they reached out to other sources.

Brown said orders are ramping up and he expects the supply chains to be going again in the next 60 days.

COVID-19 also forced some layoffs and reduced business hours for the company, but Brown hopes to have up to 50 people working there when they are fully staffed.

Octane Outlet of Middletown is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The store is closed on Wednesday and Sunday.