Richard Howe stands between two of the cars for sale at Mike’s Auto Shack on Aultman Street. (Garrett Estrada photo)

Richard Howe stands between two of the cars for sale at Mike’s Auto Shack on Aultman Street. (Garrett Estrada photo)

Sometimes one choice just isn’t enough. At least that was the thinking County Commissioner and now small business owner Richard Howe used when he opened up “Mike’s Auto Shack” on Aultman Street as a used car buying alternative for city and county residents a month ago. According to Howe, so far locals have agreed.

“Business has been great so far. We are really trying to offer something a little different than what people had available to them because there was a need for it in the community,” he said.

Howe partnered with broker Mike Hewell (that’s where the Mike’s come from) and car buyer Jim Howard out of Las Vegas to provide a used car lot for people in town looking for an “affordable” option in multiple brands.

According to Howe, almost all the cars at the “Auto Shack” are purchased from the nation’s largest seller of used cars, CarMax, and each one comes with a complete CarFax report detailing the cars maintenance and accident history.

“We want to get away from the idea of a used car and show people that these are quality vehicles that have been taken care of and will last a long time,” Howe said.

His confidence has already extended into sometimes unorthodox levels of customer interaction.

“I had one customer come in interested in buying a truck but he really wanted to check it thoroughly before purchasing it. I gave him the keys and let him take it home for two days and told him to go over it with a fine tooth comb and take it to a mechanic to make sure everything ran great. He did and came back and bought it,” the co-owner of the lot said.

But to Howe, “Mike’s Auto Shack” is about more than just finding a reliable vehicle, it’s about offering a selection that hasn’t been possible before in Ely.

“In a way we are kind of like an online car dealer because even though we try to keep 10 to 15 cars on our lot at a time, we can take special orders for just about any make, model, color, you name it.”

The only make he won’t order is a Dodge because that option already exists and Howe said he has no interest in competing with what is already available. Instead, he would rather bring in something different like Chevrolets and Fords.

“People up here love Chevy’s and Fords and outside of trying to buy online themselves or having to go out of town,  they haven’t had a great option for purchasing one locally until now,” Howe added.

It’s clear that while Howe is excited about the new lot, he is also a county commissioner at heart because he is also interested in keeping the “high ticket items” sold locally to generate more tax revenue for the city and county.

“We’ve only been open for a month and I’d say we have already generated close to $10,000 in tax revenues that stay here in Ely or in the county. That is money that before would’ve gone somewhere out of town, and I’m excited to bring that revenue back so that the people who spend it will also get the benefit of it.

For more information on pricing and availability, call 702-457-3536.