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Tuesday, Aug 9, 2022
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Easyride

WADE DANIELS Staff Reporter Talk about hitting the road. Agoura Hills-based Easyriders Inc. is gearing up to capitalize on the fact that nearly every hardcore biker, weekend motorcyclist and even non-owner enthusiast of Harley-Davidsons is well aware of the company’s flagship product Easyriders magazine. “Easyriders has huge recognition in a growing and relatively affluent market,” said Bill Prather, the firm’s chief executive. “It’s a brand that has legs.” Prather’s plan is to leverage the Easyriders brand with more magazines, an expanded chain of motorcycle-oriented retail stores and a new chain of themed restaurants, dubbed Easyriders Roadhouse Bar-B-Que. It’s an ambitious plan for a company that probably is best known for its pictorials of sleek machines and scantily clad women. But under Prather’s leadership, Easyriders has done a lot of growing up over the past year or so. Under a new ownership structure and armed with a $22 million loan from Nomura Holding America Inc., the company intends to add about 30 more retail stores a year over the next several years and leap into the restaurant franchise business. Prather arrived at the company about a year ago, when he was engineering a merger of Paisano with his Newport Beach-based firm, Newriders Inc., which had licensed the Easyriders name to open two cafes. He also happened to be founder and owner of Phoenix-based El Paso Bar-B-Que, a four-store restaurant chain, which also merged with Easyriders. Under the deal, Easyriders founder and sole owner Joe Teresi sold Paisano for $55 million in cash, notes and stock. He remains with the company as head of publishing. The merger was completed Sept. 24, with the new entity named Easyriders Inc. “Revenues have been flat because the owner (Teresi) has been satisfied,” said Bill Nordstrom, who was a Newriders executive and is the new company’s vice president of finance. “We were most interested in acquiring the name ‘Easyriders,’ because with some muscle behind the brand there is some real opportunity to grow.” The loan from Nomura will be used to expand the number of events Easyriders produces including biker “rodeos,” which feature motorcycle smash-up derbies and other contests, motorcycle exhibit conventions and tattoo shows. This year, the company is putting on five motorcycle conventions, and plans to expand to between 10 and 12 next year. The money may also be used to add to Easyriders’ stable of magazines, which includes six other motorcycle magazines, as well as one automobile and three tattoo titles. As for the plan to establish a chain of restaurants, Prather and Martin will draw up a franchise system in coming months. Prather is a former executive of the Burger King and Hardee’s fast food chains, and Martin was president and chief executive of the Taco Bell Corp. for 12 years through 1995.

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