Small business owner in Steamboat getting retirement for Christmas
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A small business owner in Steamboat Springs who has kept chainsaws, lawnmowers and snowblowers purring over the years has turned over the keys to a man who plans to carry on the tradition.
Jim Pavlic, who moved to Steamboat from the East Coast in 1998, began his career in the small-engine world after he discovered a lawnmower under the family Christmas tree.
Pavlic’s letter to Santa must have gotten lost because what he was hoping for was a bike.
“When you have enough money, you can buy a 10-speed bicycle,” Pavlic’s father told him.
Pavlic went on to become a small-engine mechanic.
“I put myself through college doing this,” he said.
Pavlic fell in love with the people living in the Yampa Valley, both those in Steamboat and those outside the city, who rely on small engines to blow snow from their driveways and cut trees crossing the roads.
“Unless you meet the rural residents, you don’t have a clue what it’s about,” he said.
Pavlic, who just sold Precision Sharpening & Repair on 13th Street, said he decided to retire because his wife wanted to spend more time with family.
“Me, personally, another 10 years wouldn’t have bothered me, but she said I can’t retire unless you do,” Pavlic said.
Pavlic wanted to leave the business in good hands, and he found Kelly Phillips to buy the business.
“The fortunate thing is a good person is taking over,” Pavlic said. “He’s an excellent fit.”
Phillips has been spending time in Steamboat since the early 1990s and has worked as a commercial diver.
“I’m excited to continue the legacy of Precision,” Phillips said. “I’m just trying to build on what Jim has done here.”
Pavlic credited the success of the business to his staff.
Justin Haynes started working at the shop as a mechanic after his dad showed him a classified ad in a Grand Junction newspaper.
“Just freeing up the auger on a snowblower,” he said while working on a machine. “Poor thing.”
Haynes said he will miss Pavlic being around the shop.
“I’m gonna be sad, for sure,” he said.
Spend enough time in the business, and it starts to feel like a small-town diner with longtime residents catching up and sharing stories over a cup of coffee.
Dan Jendral, owner of Western Tree & Lawn Management, stopped in Wednesday to get some oil.
He said he has been a customer since the business opened, and he likes stopping by just to have a conversation with Pavlic and the employees.
“He’s honest,” Jendral said. “He’s full of integrity, and he’s very personable. He’s all of the above.”
Pavlic is easing into retirement but was still helping Phillips learn about the business Wednesday.
Pavlic even stepped onto the sales floor to help a customer with questions about chainsaws.
“Can’t stop himself,” Phillips said.
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