Scooterville owners sell

A little over a year since relocating from downtown Missoula to a storefront on Brooks Street, Scooterville Montana has made yet another big move. On Feb. 1, Missoula's sole scooter outlet will reopen in a Quonset hut at Flanagan Motors.

Flanagan Motors owner Shannon Flanagan says his automotive dealership should close on a deal to purchase Scooterville from owners Nancy McCourt and Gary Stein in the coming weeks. The couple approached Flanagan in December with the proposal, citing economic concerns unrelated to the store's previous move in late 2008.

"Sales were not good in '09, and it's anybody's guess where the economy is going from here," McCourt says. "So while we expect to sustain, especially with this new blending of our business into Flanagan's, this is just part of being cautious."

Flanagan didn't need much time to consider the opportunity. The dealership lost its Jeep franchise last year during Chrysler's national restructuring. He also says he pursued the Vespa franchise in Missoula about eight years ago, but their retail requirements were too demanding at the time. It's ironic, Flanagan says, that Stein should call him now.

"Nancy describes it as sort of a quirky, unique business and I totally agree," Flanagan says. "It's just another thing we can add to the Flanagan Motors nameplate. In terms of motorized wheel transportation, we're going to be your go-to guy."

McCourt and Stein finished transporting the store's 30 scooters and mopeds to Flanagan's this week. Retail and maintenance services will remain unchanged, but McCourt will be the only present staff member to follow Scooterville.

"It's been a real bumpy scooter ride," McCourt says of the store's seven-year run. "We've seen really nice growth...so it feels really good to have accomplished that with a seasonal business."

Flanagan and McCourt express mutual optimism over the purchase, which McCourt views as a "creative" business strategy. Flanagan says the venture was as risk-free as the dealership could ask for, and he has no desire to make unnecessary changes to Scooterville's established reputation.

"I love their name, and I like their product," Flanagan says. "We felt that was a pretty good fit for us."

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