NOTE: See important update at the bottom.
Wayne Bales, owner of Route 66 Motors east of Rolla, Mo., since 1979, is entertaining offers to lease or buy his business, which is a combination of a classic used-car lot and a Route 66 souvenir store. Decorated with many vintage petroleum signs, it’s a favorite stop for many traveling the Mother Road in Missouri.
Here’s a link of another image from Joe Sonderman’s Web site.
Bales told me he’s selling the gift-shop inventory at cost if someone wants to buy it out; there’s about $15,000 worth of merchandise left.
The business has about 800 feet of frontage on the north side of Interstate 44 and its own billboard, which will be a crucial tool to pull potential customers off the superslab. The gift shop itself is about 800 square feet, and it includes an apartment in the basement about the same size.
Bales’ inventory of used cars includes a 1966 Mercury station wagon, a 1968 Ford Crestliner, a 1955 Chrysler St. Regis, a 1967 Chevrolet Caprice and others. He also told me that a Love’s Truck Stop is being constructed just up the road from him, which should help boost traffic to Route 66 Motors.
Bales said the business “has been good to us” and has been an “ideal semi-retirement” benture, and selling it gives him mixed emotions. But he’s approaching 70 years old, and he and his wife Pat are wanting to do have more free time that the business won’t allow.
He told me off the record what the selling price would be, and it sounded very reasonable. Potential buyers can call him at (573) 265-5200 or at home at (573) 364-7656.
UPDATE: Route 66 Motors has been taken off the market. The auto sales part of the business will continue to operate, but the souvenir shop is closed.
UPDATE 6/18/2010: Wayne Bales said in an e-mail that he’s taken Route 66 Motors off the market. He says he still enjoys meeting Route 66 travelers, and will continue to greet them for the foreseeable future.