Nelson’s Speed Shop to rebuild by winter


By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 10:32 am on Monday, July 16, 2012

Nelson’s Speed Shop has reopened in the south end of its property to cater to customers with its outside showroom. Business hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Daily News/Kelli Ameling

MONTCALM TOWNSHIP — Less than a month after a devastating fire, Nelson’s Speed Shop has opened for business.

The Montcalm Township business is operating out of an office with an outside showroom and is trying to continue business as close to normal as possible. But the shop will not be outdoors for long, according to owner Jack Nelson, who said he plans to start layout plans next week and have a new shop rebuilt by winter.

Currently, the business is operating out of snowmobile trailers and tents on the south end of the Nelson’s Speed Shop property. Nelson said a mobile office should be in place next week.

“We are out in the open air,” Nelson said.

Customers can come and shop new equipment on the property. Nelson said they are bringing in smaller items to accommodate customers. Nelson’s is open for business from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Two warehouses survived the June 22 fire, which is still under investigation, and Nelson plans to use them to do repairs for customers. A problem they are facing now is ordering parts to sell as there is not a place for them to be stored. Nelson said he is working to set something up though and hopes to be able to display some items starting next week. Nelson said they are currently unable to accept credit cards due to problems getting a landline to the location.

A telephone pole has been put on the property with lines on the premises, however Nelson said he is unable to get a hold of anyone to come out and hook things up.  After being contacted by The Daily News, AT&T is now working with Nelson on getting the issue resolved.

Sno-Motion is still scheduled for Aug. 24 and 25 at Nelson’s Speed Shop. New attractions such as monster trucks will also be a part of the event. Daily News/Kelli Ameling

Nelson said the current condition of the site should be cleared next week, where he will begin to make layout plans to rebuild.

“It’s going to be a little smaller so it’s more manageable,” Nelson said.

Although construction will be taking place, Sno-Motion is still scheduled to place on the property Aug. 24 and 25.

Nelson described the event as being how it was when it first started under tents.

This year, Nelson said he is adding monster trucks, drag races and more.

“It will be like the old-fashioned days,” Nelson said, adding a midway and carnival will still be part of the event.

As Nelson looked onto the construction site of where Nelson’s Speed Shop stood just a few weeks ago, he talked of the items he is unable to replace from the fire.

Among millions of dollars in damages, Nelson said antique snowmobiles, photos and more were lost that he cannot get back.

“It hurts,” he said with a glazed stare at the building. “They are still working to find something to bring closure.”

Fire investigators haven’t return phone calls this week to The Daily News requesting an update.

“Thanks again to all the customers and people for support,” Nelson said. “We are glad to rebuild.”

He said the encouragement from the community was the “shot in the arm” to get him going again, and noted it was nice to see the community help out, including business, in the time of need.

It’s the love Nelson has for the business that did not let him hang his gloves up yet.

“I still have the passion that drives me to want to do it,” Nelson said of his third time building.

“Nelson’s Speed Shop employees help make the business what it is,” Nelson said. He added some employees have been there a long time and are still sticking with him, now, even when conditions are not that great.

“The firefighters, police and investigators worked hard throughout the process,” Nelson said, adding he wanted to thank everyone again.

“Thankfully no one was hurt,” Nelson said.

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