Anderson Motors stands the test of time, selling cars for 50 years
SCOTTSBLUFF — In the community’s highly competitive used car business, it takes perseverance and a commitment to quality customer service to stay open for the haul. That’s what Anderson Motors has been doing for the past 55 years.
“I’ve always tinkered with cars and used to race them when I was younger,” Len Anderson said. “I guess you could say it’s the only think I know.”
In 1963, Anderson and his brothers opened a car lot at Fifth Avenue and East Overland in Scottsbluff at the site of an old Texaco station.
“We started buying a few old cars from the local dealers and cleaning them up for resale,” Anderson said. “It was about a year later when we moved to the Phillips 66 station at Seventh and East Overland.”
Anderson put up a new steel building when the original was destroyed by fire in the mid-1960s. He also got out of the gas business entirely to focus on car sales.
His next stop was on East Portal Place near Highway 26, where he remained until 1987 before moving back to East Overland. The last stop was East 27th Street on property he leases from his son-in-law.
An ad in the Star-Herald from 1972 has a listing of all the community’s used car dealerships. Today, only Anderson Motors remains.
As Anderson said, he’s been all over the place during his 55 years in the same business.
When asked how the business has changed, his first answer was the price of vehicles.
“You used to be able to buy a new pickup for five grand and now they’re $50,000. Talk about inflation,” Anderson said. “And the old cars were easier to work on. Everything’s computerized now. It sure isn’t as much fun as it used to be.”
Anderson, who’s now 81, said the key to staying in business is treating every customer fairly, the same way he would want to be treated.
Retired Postal Service employee Paul Erdman, who’s been with Anderson Motors for the past seven years, agrees.
“Treating the customers right are what it’s all about,” Erdman said. “That means a lot to me because I have a lot of friends I’ve helped put in cars. We always have nice vehicles and have our own full-time mechanic for any work that’s needed.”
When Erdman came on board seven years ago, he told Anderson the one thing he wouldn’t do is lie for him. Anderson agreed, saying that’s not how a quality business reputation is built.
So the company is proud of its slogan, which appears on all its bumper plates: Clean, Quality Cars You Can Depend On.
Anderson said the hardest part of the business is finding the right vehicles the dealer wants to buy. Most of them know the prime vehicles from the not-so-nice ones.
“Because I live in Texas now, most of the vehicles I buy are from that area,” he said. “Cars there are a bit nicer because they don’t have all the snow and salt and hail.”
Erdman said another change in the business is that many used car dealers no longer attend car auctions. Instead, they do all their buying online.
“Len is old school,” Erdman said. “He has to touch it and see it and drive it before he buys it. We’ve very selective of what we bring onto our car lot.”