Avalanche Auto takes over Gypsum car lot
The Vail Valley has a car dealership?Yes, and even though you might not have known it was there, it just got an overhaul. This spring, Kent Shelton of Dillon purchased Minturn’s Butler Auto Sales. Under the new title of Avalanche Auto and along with the help of general manager Corbet Hoover, Shelton said he is hoping to breathe new life into an old business.”There’s no other used-car business other than what the new car dealers offers,” said Hoover, who came to Avalanche after working sales for Silverthorne Subaru. “Most of their used vehicles start at $12-$14,000, whereas ours start at $2,000.” While the demand for affordable cars in the valley is no secret – Butler Auto Sales remained in business for over 10 years without accepting trade-ins and operating on a cash-only basis – Shelton and Hoover plan to provide a new service that they said the Vail Valley is sorely in need of: guaranteed credit.
“This is an opportunity to change or build credit,” Shelton said. For a young person with no credit, a foreign resident without credit history in the United States, or someone whose credit has been destroyed whatever reason, Avalanche is capable of providing financing that will not only allow them to pay for a car, but to establish a good credit history as well, Hoover said. “We get them into a car, and a couple years down the road, they’re back to normal again,” said Hoover.Shelton himself started anew when he moved to Colorado in 1995 from Fort Wayne, Ind. Looking for a career change after 17 years in the corporate division of Ryder Truck Rentals, he bought a small cleaning business in Dillon. Happier in the world of small business and enjoying the mountain lifestyle, he grew the cleaning business and later started snow removal and property management companies that he continues to run, he said.
In 2002, he set out on a fourth venture wholesale used automobiles. The endeavor plugged Shelton into the Western Slope auto community and led to meeting Hoover at Silverthorne Subaru.”I told Corbet someday I wanted to have a location up here,” Shelton said. When Minturn lot owner Bob Butler expressed interest in retirement, Shelton and Hoover formed a partnership and jumped at the chance. Although the location is a bit off the beaten path of Interstate 70, the two are confident that remaining in the established location will be more valuable than moving to a more heavily trafficked area like Avon or Eagle, they said. Hoover, originally from Madison, Wisc., moved to Frisco in 2003 from Salt Lake City, Utah, where he had worked for a mortgage company and also sold furniture. With a background in both finance and sales, and long-time interest in cars, he found work at Silverthorne Subaru. Like Shelton, though, Hoover said, he was tired of working in a corporate environment and is excited and enthusiastic about the fresh prospect of growing a small business in Minturn.
“A small business environment is what I’ve always preferred,” he said. Shelton and Hoover obviously expect challenges along the way – among them, they said, the high costs of running a business in the mountains and the seasonal nature and transient population of the Vail Valley. They are embracing that challenge, though, and enjoying the opportunity to become a fixture in the community that has given both men new starts, Shelton said. “This is about what the community means to us,” Shelton said. “It’s about providing an easier lifestyle.”Vail, Colorado