Two Rivers Chevrolet in Glenwood Springs, Colo., was closed all of last week, a victim of one of the wildfires that has ravaged the state.
For a while, though, it appeared that Glenwood Springs dealerships were doomed.
Owners of Two Rivers Chevrolet and nearby Glenwood Springs Ford-Lincoln-Mercury heard news broadcasts the night of June 8 reporting that their businesses, located in an evacuated neighborhood, had gone up in flames.
Instead, firefighters used the dealership lots as a staging area and kept the wind-whipped fire from going farther into the community, said Curt Lance, general manager of Two Rivers Chevrolet.
Said Jeff Carlson, owner of Glenwood Springs Ford-Lincoln-Mercury: "Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated." Carlson, who also owns a dealership in Silverthorne, is chairman of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association.
Carlson said his Glenwood Springs dealership had some smoke and ash damage. The business reopened Wednesday, June 12.
Lance said Two Rivers Chevrolet hoped to reopen early this week. Besides coping with smoke damage to buildings, the dealership must clean fine ash from each of nearly 150 new and used cars and trucks, Lance said. The dealership is seeking some replacement vehicles from General Motors while the existing inventory is cleaned and, if necessary, repaired.
For service, parts and other needs, Two Rivers customers are being sent to Canyon Honda and Red Mountain Subaru-Nissan, both about four miles away. The three form Glenwood Automotive Group, owned by Ron Esch.
The Glenwood Springs dealerships, on Colorado's western slope, were the hardest hit in the state, said Bill Barrow, president of the state dealers association and the metropolitan Denver association.
An even bigger fire has been raging out of control near Denver, about 125 miles to the east.
No dealerships in or around the city have been threatened, he said, but all are contending with windblown smoke and ash. So dealerships need to wash cars more often, while authorities are urging water conservation.
Officials at Two Rivers Chevrolet are pledging $500 from the sale of each new vehicle to the community's recovery effort, Lance said.
"You look out and you see nearly half of those mountains are charred sticks of wood. It has to have a psychological impact and an economic impact," he said. "I do not wish this on anyone."