New auto repair shop opens in west Steamboat
December 2, 2017
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Christopher "Bear" Cotton's quest to start up his own automotive shop in Steamboat Springs started several years ago with a 1965 Ford Mustang.
"I had to have one as my first car," he said.
So when his parents found him a $2,500 junker 65 Mustang, he had a lot of motivation to fix it up and get it working.
The frame up restoration led to a career as a mechanic, and today, Cotton and his wife, Payden, are fixing cars and trucks in their new auto repair shop in Snow Bowl Plaza.
Bear's Automotive promises to help residents who face long wait lists at other mechanics in town.
"The more and more Steamboat grows, the more mechanics we need," Cotton said.
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Cotton also said his shop will be a place someone with a $1,200 car can afford to get work done.
The Cottons said their customers should see same- or next-day service at this time.
Christopher Cotton, who grew up in Memphis, moved to Steamboat and took a job as a mechanic with Steamboat Motors.
He then spent a few years maintaining the fleet of vehicles at Go Alpine Taxi.
Payden Cotton, who has four years of resort management experience, is handling the bookkeeping and other aspects of the business.
The Cottons said they were looking to start an automotive repair shop closer to where they live in South Routt County, but could not find a commercially zoned space that made sense.
They opened the Steamboat location about three weeks ago.
"It was kind of a leap of faith," Payden Cotton said.
The Cottons’ small town customer service and friendliness has already revealed itself in the first few weeks of business.
While Cotton said the repair shop has a policy of not working on vehicles made before 1992, he has bent the rules to help a customer who needed such things as an oil change on a 1960s snow cat.
Bear's Automotive is aiming to specialize in the repair and upkeep of Subarus.
The Cottons moved into the space formerly occupied by Steamboat Auto Repair.
That repair shop has moved to a bigger location with more amenities at 2251 Downhill Drive.