LACONIA — For those who are cruising up Lakeside Avenue at Weirs Beach this Motorcycle Week, a manicure, boot shine, goatee trim or a clean shave may be something that sounds appealing.
And now, for the first time in the 92-years of the Laconia rally, and thanks to rally sponsor Progressive Insurance, it can happen and it can happen for free.
"Progressive provides excellent customer service and this is just and extension of that," said Matt Mondek who is one of Progressive's ambassadors.
Patrick Jansen, the official spokesman for Flo's Chop Shop — "Flo" being the bright, red-lipsticked saleswoman with the dark up do in Progressive Insurance commercials and ads — said Progressive wants people to know that it is the number one insurer for motorcycles since it started insuring them in 1964.
He said many times bike insurance is more like protecting a treasured piece of artistry when one considers all of the work and special attention owner/enthusiasts put into them.
"Its all about customer service and Flo's Chop Shop is customer service at its best," he said.
To show how they care, Jansen, who is the owner of Sin Central — a hot-rod and Harley Davidson shop in Atlanta, Ga. — said he was recruited by Progressive for Flo's at because of his reputation for excellence in restoring motorcycles and hot rods.
He said Sin Central is also known for donating a considerable amount of money annual to help Atlanta's children and Progressive wanted a company that was community-minded as well as professional.
"This is about beards, bikers and boots," he said, noting Progressing recruited some of the best in the business for Motorcycle Week.
Jansen said Progressive has brought to Laconia 10 brand ambassadors — eight women and two men — three barbers and three shoe shiners.
The shoe shiners are from Shinola Shoe Shine of Chicago and, according to their Facebook page, bring their services to Progressive for shows all over the world.
The professional barbers are from SHED Barbers in Austin, Texas. Michael Regino said they were approached by Progressive for Flo's Chop Shop in Laconia and were thrilled to be invited. He said his barber shop in South Austin takes barbering back to 100 years ago when there were hot towels, straight razors and all of the barbering traditions. A customer at SHED Barbers can also get a free beer or whiskey while waiting.
"I would return to New Hampshire in a heart beat," said Regino, noting he is staying on the lake and the water is so clear he can see the bottom.
Jansen said he had been riding for years and has been to the Laconia Rally a number of times. He said he stays in a friend's house on Lake Winnipesaukee and just loves coming to Laconia.
"From Atlanta, this is a big change in scenery," he said.
Jansen said Flo's Chop Shop plans on becoming regulars at Motorcycle Week in Laconia.
"Everyone here is so welcoming, Charlie (St. Clair) and Jen (Anderson) are just the best," Jansen said, referring to officials of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association. "We'll be back, definitely."
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