Santa and Mrs. Claus will ride into the new Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson in New London this Saturday, Dec. 13, from 12 to 3 p.m. to join United States Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Joe Courtney in supporting the U.S. Reserve Marine Corps annual ‘Toys for Tots’ campaign.
This free event will include photos with Santa and the whole family … even pets are welcome. Santa will greet visitors in a Harley-Davidson® sidecar set in front of a traditional stone fireplace within the former Coca-Cola® factory. Local sports celebrities including Casey Cochran (UConn football player) and Roger LaFrancois (former Boston Red Sox player and St. Louis Cardinal’s coach) will be on hand to sign autographs.
The brand new showroom not only features motorcycles, ATVs and watercraft, but also boasts an extensive selection of riding gear, accessories, clothing, and toys; there’s something fun for every member of the family at this exciting new venue. Each child will receive a free gift from Santa, and festive refreshments will be offered.
Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson is the New London County collection and staging headquarters for ‘Toys for Tots’, locally sponsored by the Thames River Detachment Marine Corps League. For months, the community has been donating toys and the Marines have been collecting, sorting and staging the gifts inside of Mike’s Famous®. The initiative will provide toys to children represented by dozens of charities and non-profit organizations this holiday season. Additionally, non-perishable food items are being accepted for donation to the Gemma E. Moran United Way Food Center.
“We are thrilled beyond belief to be working with Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson this year on our annual toy drive,” said Jim Reid, Junior Vice Commandant of the Thames River Detachment Marine Corps League. “Mike has gone above and beyond the call of duty and has spent a lot of resources to accommodate our needs. In past years, we have worked in unheated warehouses and other tough conditions. Our very comfortable headquarters at Mike’s Famous is absolutely fantastic, and his staff has been great to work with. We are extremely grateful,” Reid added.
Following the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s positive November jobs report, the 2015 economy looks bright for the region. This bodes well for U.S. businesses like Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson, and its owner, Mike Schwartz, who invested in the City of New London this past year. He purchased the former Coca-Cola® bottling plant on Bank Street in the late summer of 2013, and by soliciting suggestions from the community, transformed the crumbling building into a customer led showroom and retail destination, which opened in the spring of 2014. This adaptive reuse project has created 40 full and part-time jobs in a unique, authentic environment, which merges two iconic brands, Coca-Cola® and Harley-Davidson®.
Coca-Cola’s® 2014 holiday campaign, “Make Someone Happy,” focuses on the spirit of generosity and togetherness, and encourages small acts of kindness. Coke® is bringing back their original Santa, imagined over 80 years ago by artist Haddon Sundblom, to elicit a feeling of history and nostalgia. In keeping with this theme, elected officials, local celebrities, Boy Scouts, Young Marines, senior Marine officers and military personnel are donating their time on Saturday to participate in the ‘Toys for Tots’ event at Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson, bringing the larger community together to help others.
The objectives of ‘Toys for Tots’ are to help less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources – our children; to unite all members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future.
Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson is located at 951 Bank Street in New London, CT. The new dealership opened in March of 2014 in 55,000 square feet within the former Coca-Cola® bottling plant. It also represents the Can-Am® brands of ATVs, Side-by-Sides, Spyders® and Sea-Doo® Watercraft, and carries the full line of Polaris® recreational products.