Fry’s Golf Carts is rebuilding after battery explosion fire

Posted by Cory Smith • Last Updated 10:14 pm on Friday, April 12 2013

Cliff Fry stands at the site of his original facility that housed his golf cart business, Fry’s Golf Carts of Carson City. The building was destroyed in a fire in February. — Daily News/Cory Smith

CRYSTAL TOWNSHIP — For 10 seconds, Cliff Fry thought about calling it quits.

On vacation in Florida on Feb. 20, Fry sat heavy in his chair as he watched live security camera video of his golf cart repair business burning to the ground.

A fire that started in the back of the facility at 5575 S. Mt. Hope Road, likely from a golf cart battery explosion, consumed the storage facility that Fry and his employees operated out of.

“I sat there and watched my building burn,” Fry recalled. “It brought tears to my eyes. I’ve owned this business almost 14 years.”

Having worked at General Motors for 32 years, retired, and then started up Fry’s Golf Carts of Carson City, where he repairs and sells golf carts as a side business, Fry thought maybe it was time to retire for good.

But then Fry thought about his employee Eddie Avey, who was in the storage barn when it went up in flames but made it out safely, and his other part-time employees who depend on him for a livelihood.

“I thought about the people that work for me, my first thought was to make sure Eddy was OK,” he said. “Not that I owe them a job, but I’ve got great employees who work part time. I thought I’d teach these guys everything they know, but now I find they are teaching me things.”

With that attitude, Fry decided to rebuild his business. After two weeks of construction the frame of a new facility has been erected and Fry is preparing to open his business again in May.

“Just give us another week or two, and we’ll be back in business,” he said.

The new facility of Fry’s Golf Carts, which measures at 4,800 square feet, is expected to be completed and ready for use in the first week of May. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Fry said his business hasn’t been hit too hard because of the cold start to the spring.

“If this had been last year, when the weather was so good, we’d really be struggling.” he said.

Last April, Fry said his businesses was operating at 100 percent capacity. Currently, he’s only operating at 15 percent capacity.

“It’s all due to the weather,” he said.

For Avey, just watching the progress of the new building day by day has him in higher spirits.

“The new building is definitely helping out a lot, just watching it go up,” he said. “I’m just waiting and continuing to answer phones until it’s done.”

A new facility at Fry’s Golf Carts of Carson City will house many golf carts, as well as operate as a location to perform repairs and sell carts, similar to this storage barn that sits on the same property at 5575 S. Mt. Hope Road in Crystal Township. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Fry said the new business will be slightly smaller than the original facility at 4,800 sq. ft., but will have significant changes made to avoid another fire, such as windows throughout the building so every room is visible from the entryway.

“We’re going to have an eye on everything, if there’s another fire, we’ll catch it early,” Fry said.

Fry and Avey currently operate out of the kitchen and living room of Fry’s house on the same property, but they are looking forward to an official start date in the new facility in the first week of May.

“We’re open for business now, but we’re really limited,” Fry said. “We’ll continue to fix and repair most golf carts as well as sell and recondition them as best we can. We don’t want any customer to go home unhappy.”

Fry can be reached at (989) 235-4820 or (989) 506-5292.

Cliff Fry, left, stands with employee Eddie Avey, at the site of his new facility of his business, Fry’s Golf Carts of Carson City. The original facility was destroyed by fire. — Daily News/Cory Smith

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