Entrepreneurial blood runs through Jason Spruell’s veins. His grandparents opened Gene Patton Motor Company in Cortez, CO back in 1970. The business sold motorcycles, off-road vehicles, snow mobiles and snowblowers. They also had a service shop. Jason’s parents, Kelly and Dennis, currently own and operate Cortez Animal Bed & Breakfast which they opened twenty-five years ago. His brother opened a glass shop six years ago. “Everyone in the family ran a business,” Jason explained. “I worked at my grandparents’ shop when I was a teenager. I loved the industry. After working at the shop for a few years my grandmother told me I needed to learn about the corporate world.”
He took a few business classes and managed restaurants. For twenty years Jason worked in law enforcement in Montezuma County and the Town of Mancos. Jason said, “I had always wanted to have my own business. My grandfather sold his business thirteen years ago.” The owner did not have family ties. “I wanted to buy it and bring it back into the family.”
In April 2018, Jason contacted the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Fort Lewis College through their website. His parents used SBDC and Region 9 before they opened their bed and breakfast. Jason knew how useful SBDC had been to his parents. Current SBDC director Mary Shepherd replied to Jason’s request and informed him that Joe Keck, a former director, would be in touch.
“I reached out to SBDC because I didn’t know what to do. Would purchasing the business be feasible for me? Was the price right? Would the business be able to support itself? When I spoke with Joe, he gave me all I needed to get the process going.” Joe provided him with guidance, industry information to research and analyze, and financial spreadsheet software. Jason studied the industry standards and what related businesses were doing. The two also talked about different scenarios Jason could encounter during the buying process. “We met and spoke over the phone several times. The research I had done matched what Joe had found.” Their analysis concluded conditions were favorable to proceed with the purchase.
The most important bit of guidance from Joe came as a suggestion. Joe believed Jason should do franchise specific research to help him obtain financing. Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki were the vehicle manufactures Jason’s business would sell. Once the business was registered with Colorado’s Secretary of State, he could apply for financing from the franchises. The standard practice in this industry requires a business owner to obtain a financial loan from the manufacturer if capital wasn’t available to purchase the vehicles outright. Financing would allow the vehicles to be delivered, then showcased for sale on the showroom floor. Jason took Joe’s suggestion. He submitted the necessary information and was eventually approved by all three franchises. In November, almost three weeks afterwards, Jason opened Mesa Verde Motorsports. He realized his dream and brought the business back home.
Mesa Verde Motorsports has been open for two months. “I just want to help people get into the vehicle or toy that they need or want. I would tell everyone SBDC is a great organization. They listen and do the necessary research. Joe knows his stuff and has been at it for years. I am appreciative to Joe and Mary for helping people get into business.”