Utah dealership ends up in daughter’s hands by fate
Though Caron Boswell is an avid rider, and she literally grew up in her parents’ dealership, she never had a desire to take on the family business. That was until 19 years ago, when, by fate, her husband Brad lost his job, and the couple decided to take the reigns of the dealership.
Caron Boswell said she and her husband took over Careys Cycle Center to allow her parents to take a step back. Paul and Joyce Carey had been running the store since 1957.
“My mom worked herself to death. She raised five girls and worked here,” Boswell explained in phone interview from the dealership in Riverdale, Utah.
The dealership was born out of a somewhat crazy idea Paul Carey had.
“My dad worked at the military base up where we live — Hill Air Force Base — and he came home to my mom one day and said ‘Why don’t we open a motorcycle shop?’” Boswell said.
Joyce Carey found Paul’s concept a little bizarre, considering he wasn’t much of a “people person,” but she went along with it. The couple borrowed $500 from an uncle and started their business. They got additional help from a friend, who was the local Triumph rep. He knew the $500 wouldn’t cover the five-bike minimum order Triumph had set, so he informed them which bikes were back-ordered, so the Careys only had to pay for two up front.
The dealership thrived in its early years. The Yamaha line was added in 1963, making Careys one of the oldest Yamaha dealers in the western U.S. BSA, Norton, Rickman and Bultaco were all added at some point and shed later. The Careys also sold Harley-Davidsons for a time, and Paul even raced Harleys in events such as the Widow Maker Hill Climb, but they dropped the brand in the 1980s when the Motor Company asked the couple to build another dealership to separate it from the other brands at Careys.
Now the dealership, in its 55th year, is Yamaha exclusive, a brand near and dear to the family.
“It’s what we live, love and ride, to be honest,” Boswell said.
Along with carrying on the Yamaha brand, the dealership has also continued its racing heritage, sponsoring and participating in races at the local Odgen Cycle Association Hot Springs Raceway Track, which Paul Carey helped open.
“We have four generations right now racing motorcycles,” Boswell said, adding that her 5-year-old grandson has started racing a Yamaha TT-R50.
The family is also into riding on sand dunes, getting out on street bikes or dirt bikes and occasionally joining the Star Motorcycles group that meets at its dealership once a month.
“I just like to enjoy my family, go riding with friends and make a living,” Boswell said.
Continuing her family’s business is what led her to buy the dealership, and family is one of the things that keeps her there.
“Where else can you take your grandkids to your work?” she asked.
Though Careys Cycle Center is Paul Carey’s baby, as Boswell described it, she and Brad have made some changes since they took over almost two decades ago. The couple broke Paul Carey’s habit of ordering every part for every bike; they remodeled the store and computerized business operations.
“When I came in, they were still using microfiche and still writing receipts by hand,” Boswell explained.
Originally, she planned to move and expand the dealership, but the longer she has owned it, the more comfortable she has grown with its current size, still situated in the building in which the dealership has been housed for 43 years.
“I just want a down-home feeling, the place where people can still come and get the knowledge and expertise we have,” she said, adding that the staff knows its customers by name.
Boswell, who keeps the books and oversees the sales department at the dealership, has learned much about running the business from her parents.
“My parents taught me a very good work ethic,” she said. “Some people say, ‘It’s slow today; let’s just close.’ That doesn’t work. You have to be diligent and stay open when you say you’re going to be open.”
Though Paul and Joyce Carey retired about 13 years ago, Paul can still be found in the dealership on some summer days.
“They go south for the winter, and he’ll still come down in the summer and tinker with things,” Bowell said.
Boswell’s OK letting him stop by because he built the foundation on which her business thrives. And though she may not have originally been thrilled to give up her at-home beauty salon for a powersports dealership, she has grown to appreciate her career.
“We’re not in this to make a big huge cash deal,” she said. “We’re in it because we love it.”