Aspen Realtor buys truck for the town
ASPEN ” Some real estate agents would celebrate a successful year of sales by taking a vacation to an exotic locale or perhaps trying their luck in a spec development. Not Toby Munk.
He invested about $40,000 in a truck that any individual, business or organization in Aspen, Snowmass Village or Basalt can use for free. There’s no catch and no small print in the rental agreement. People don’t have to do business with Munk to use the truck.
“It’s hard for people to understand that you can use a truck for free,” said Munk, a broker associate with Aspen Land and Homes Sotheby’s International Realty. “Some people don’t get it. Other people say ‘Toby’s known for his crazy ideas.'”
Munk sought a unique way to contribute to the community after enjoying successful 2006. He thought the community truck would appeal to people, since someone always needs a truck to move or haul something. He wants to spare people the expense of renting.
He came up with the idea from similar promotions he saw in urban areas where real estate agents would plaster their pictures on the side of a truck with the saying, “Buy or sell with me, and use this truck for free.” He wanted to make it available to everyone, not just his customers.
“I took that concept and mended it into something appropriate for Aspen,” Munk said.
The truck is essentially like a U-Haul truck. It has ramps that pull out, dollies for moving heavy items, moving blankets to cover items and bars that hold tie-down straps.
The graphics make it stand out. The Munks selected two eye-catching photos from the Aspen Historic Society’s archives and enlarged them. One famous photo shows a circus parading through the dirt streets of Aspen around the turn of the 20th century. The photo on the other side of the trailer shows the commercial core from about the same era in a view looking north from around Aspen Mountain.
Life-sized pictures of Toby and Connie are on the trailer, along with the telephone numbers of their real estate offices. Bold lettering on the truck makes it clear that it is available for free use.
“Obviously there’s an advertising angle out of this,” Munk said.
The Munks picked up the truck in Buffalo in February, just as a blizzard hit upstate New York and much of the Midwest: “It’s definitely weather-tested and road-tested,” he said.
Anybody between ages 21 and 75 is can use the truck. They must sign a rental agreement, and they must have their own insurance. Borrowers must replace the gas they use.
Munk said his preference is for the truck to in the valley, and hopes it becomes popular enough that it is only available for one day at a time.
His concept has hit only one snag thus far. He can’t find a place to park it in Aspen.
Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.