After good year, Realtor makes community truck available for free
ASPEN, Colo. Some real estate agents would celebrate a successful year of sales by taking a vacation to an exotic locale or perhaps trying their luck in a spec development. Not Toby Munk.He invested about $40,000 in a community truck that any individual, business or organization in Aspen, Snowmass Village or Basalt can use for free. There’s no catch and no small print in the rental agreement. People don’t have to do business with Munk to use the truck.”It’s hard for people to understand that you can use a truck for free,” said Munk, a broker associate with Aspen Land and Homes Sotheby’s International Realty. “Some people don’t get it. Other people say ‘Toby’s known for his crazy ideas.'”Munk sought a unique way to contribute back to the community after enjoying “a very good” 2006. He thought the community service truck would appeal to people. Someone always needs a truck to move or haul something for work. He wants to spare them the expense of renting.He came up with the idea from similar promotions he saw in urban areas where real estate agents would plaster their pictures on the side of a truck with the saying, “Buy or sell with me, and use this truck for free.” He wanted to make it available to everyone, not just his customers.”I took that concept and mended it into something appropriate for Aspen,” Munk said.He and his wife, Connie, learned about a package deal where they could buy a truck with a custom detail job. The Ford F-350 pickup came with a flatbed. The company he bought from mounted a cargo trailer about 18 feet long so it is essentially like a U-Haul truck. It has ramps that pull out, dollies for moving heavy items, moving blankets to cover items and bars that straps can attach to.The graphics make it stand out. The Munks selected two eye-catching photos from the Aspen Historic Society’s archives and enlarged them to cover the majority of the trailer. One famous photo shows a circus parading through the dirt streets of Aspen around the turn of the 20th century. Aspenites gaze in wonder at elephants and other oddities. The photo on the other side of the trailer shows the commercial core from about the same era in a view looking north from around Aspen Mountain.Life-sized pictures of Toby and Connie are on the trailer, along with the telephone numbers of their real estate offices. Bold lettering on the truck makes it clear that it is available for free use.”Obviously there’s an advertising angle out of this,” Munk said.The Munks just picked up the truck in Buffalo in February, just as a blizzard hit upstate New York and much of the Midwest: “It’s definitely weather-tested and road-tested,” he said.Munk is starting to get the truck out in public so that people are aware they can rent it. Anybody between ages 21 and 75 is eligible. They must sign a rental agreement, and they must have their own insurance. (Munk carries supplemental insurance.) Borrowers must replace the gas they use.Munk said his preference is for the truck to stay within the valley, although there is some flexibility for trips to other parts of Colorado. He hopes it becomes popular enough that it is only available for one day at a time.His concept has hit only one snag thus far. He cannot find a place to park it in Aspen. He urged anyone with suggestions to call him at 948-1612.For information or a rental reservation, go to http://www.aspeninsideout. com and look for a link to the community truck.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.Construction means school bands won’t play here
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