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ARCHIVED  June 4, 1999

Car Toys parks in Colorado with University Mall store

FORT COLLINS — The race into town is on, and as soon as the dust clears, Car Toys, a Seattle-based retailer specializing in car audio systems and cellular phones, will occupy a 5,500-square-foot space in the revitalized University Mall on South College Avenue. The Fort Collins store is one of nine new Car Toys outlets, the first wave of expansion out of the Pacific Northwest for the 12-year-old company.

“We did a lot of market research after we decided to expand out of Washington and Oregon and found that Colorado was the next right step,´ said company CEO and chairman Dan Brettler. “We are really looking forward to the opportunity to fill a unique niche in Colorado, with high-quality products and competitive prices.”

Car Toys has recently opened two other stores in Colorado, one in Aurora and another in Boulder, both of which are identical to the 20 stores already up and running across Washington and Oregon. All Car Toys outlets feature showrooms in addition to workshops where service technicians can custom install purchases, often on the day of purchase.

“It’s great, being able to shop around for all the best brands and being able to see into the shop where the cars are being outfitted,” exulted Brettler. “It’s a really open, accessible and accommodating environment staffed by highly-trained salespeople.”

The company plans to hire up to 20 employees to staff its Fort Collins location, emphasizing customer service over technical expertise.

“We train each employee for 30 days,” Brettler said. “That’s a month of working for us, with pay, before they even see a client.” Owing to Northern Colorado’s burgeoning Hispanic population, Brettler is also recruiting bilingual employees to add to his staff.

Car Toys has made sizable investments of roughly $500,000 per store in its nine Colorado outlets. Additionally, Brettler said, the company plans to spend several million dollars on advertising every year, although that will all be consigned through the Seattle headquarters.

The privately owned company has grown from one store and $1.5 million in sales in 1987 to 20 stores and $65 million in sales for 1998, and Brettler plans to keep going.

“Not bad for a high-school stereo salesman,” Brettler said with a laugh. “I got into it as a hobby, and somehow here I am, running a business 20 years later. It’s pretty crazy how that happens sometimes.”

FORT COLLINS — The race into town is on, and as soon as the dust clears, Car Toys, a Seattle-based retailer specializing in car audio systems and cellular phones, will occupy a 5,500-square-foot space in the revitalized University Mall on South College Avenue. The Fort Collins store is one of nine new Car Toys outlets, the first wave of expansion out of the Pacific Northwest for the 12-year-old company.

“We did a lot of market research after we decided to expand out of Washington and Oregon and found that Colorado was the next right step,´ said company CEO and chairman…

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