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Harley Davidson Dealership Completes Major Expansion with Funding from GE Commercial Finance, Franchise Finance

EFFINGHAM, ILL.--June 7, 2005--Paul Gutman, the dealer principal and his partners at Legacy Harley-Davidson, first worked with GE Commercial Finance, Franchise Finance (GEFF) when they acquired the Effingham, Ill., dealership in 2003. At the time, Gutman already was thinking about how the businesses could be working together again in the near future.

"Our original building did not meet the Harley-Davidson requirements for a dealership," says Gutman. "One condition of acquiring the dealership was constructing a new facility within 18 months of the purchase."

A year and a half after GEFF helped Gutman acquire the dealership, GEFF also played a role in creating a new showroom that opened to the public on April 9 and will celebrate the grand opening on June 11. The 25,000 square foot showroom is a significant expansion from the less than 8,000 square foot facility the dealership originally called home. Gutman says, "You could fit the old lot and old building inside our new showroom."

While such a substantial expansion might leave some operators inclined to sit still for a while, Gutman has his eye on several future projects. The new dealership sits on an expansive old farmstead, and Gutman envisions using the additional acreage on the property to construct a pavilion with restrooms and recreational facilities, such as barbecue equipment, allowing the dealership to hold special events on the property. The company also has interest in acquiring additional dealerships. Gutman says they will look to GEFF as they progress.

"Having already completed one deal with GEFF, we had a pretty good idea what to expect with this one," says Gutman. "They took great care of us, were flexible and responsive to our needs, and made the process as short, sweet, and simple as it could possibly be. At this point they know us and we know them, so we've definitely developed a strong relationship."

According to Cliff Kraushaar, vice president, concept development, GEFF, commitment to helping customers realize their visions makes GEFF an ideal financing choice for any franchisee.

"Franchisees have a number of needs when it comes to growing their business. Whether they are looking at new construction, acquisitions, remodeling, or refinancing, we are committed to putting the resources of GE behind finding a solution to meet our customers' needs."

About GE Commercial Finance, Franchise Finance

GE Commercial Finance, Franchise Finance (GEFF) is a leading lender for the franchise finance market via direct sales and portfolio acquisition in the United States and Canada. With more than $11 billion in served assets, GEFF serves more than 6,000 customers in more than 20,000 property locations, primarily in the restaurant, hospitality, branded beverage, storage, and automotive industries. GEFF offers customers access to capital with a menu of products featuring flexible structuring, including financing for acquisitions, refinancing, construction of new units, and remodels for single- and multi-unit operators/chains. More information is available at or by calling toll-free 866-GET-GEFF (438-4333).

GE Commercial Finance, which offers businesses around the globe an array of financial products and services, has assets of more than US$230 billion and is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., USA.

GE is Imagination at Work -- a diversified technology, media and financial services company focused on solving some of the world's toughest problems. With products and services ranging from aircraft engines, power generation, water processing and security technology to medical imaging, business and consumer financing, media content and advanced materials, GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's Web site at