History of Dusenbery's
In 1984, the Aztec Chamber of Commerce invented a new award, the 50-Year Business Award, for Jim Dusenbery. Dusenbery's has been in business for 78 years under the same ownership, and this year marks their 62nd at the same location.
Jim Dusenbery and his brother Jess started in business November 1, 1934, opening the original Court Service Station.
How Dusenbery's got started.
In 1939, Dusenbery's began selling Studebakers. During the war years, no cars or trucks were made, but by 1949, Studebakers were again available. Bud Hancock came on board to help in the new car sales department.
Jim, Bud, and other employees traveled over Wolf Creek Pass to Walsenburg, Colorado, to unload cars off the railroad docks and drive them back to Aztec. Jim always claimed that the 1950 Studebaker Land Cruiser was the best car built for traveling over Wolf Creek Pass in the winter.
In 1950, Jim began selling Hudsons, bought through the Barbicovi Motor Company in Walsenburg, CO, and in 1951, Valley Service was considered "Top Dealer in the Omaha District" for trucks. At that time they were also selling Philco and Maytag appliances and radios. In 1952, the Hudson business was sold to Gene Stewart.
In 1966, Studebaker went out of business, but in 1965, Jim had decided to sell the then fairly unknown Datsun, calling the business Valley Datsun. Bud was now partners with Jim on the Datsun franchise and they trailered or drove the cars back to Aztec from the docks in Los Angeles, California.
Dusenbery's expanded their parts department
In 1966, Jim bought the Woods house, across from the garage, and then made the front of the house a car lot for the Datsuns. Shortly after 1970, the parts department was moved to its present location, and this part of the business was called Valley Parts. Merchandise was bought from independent warehouses out of Albuquerque and Denver.
About 1975, Jim bought out Bud Hancock's part of the Datsun franchise, and with his son Bob, ran the operation. He continued working at the store until 1985. His sons, Bob and Bill, have always worked in the family business, except for the time when they were away at college.
In 1982, the wholesale parts business started to buy parts from the American Parts System—now known as Big A—in Albuquerque. And in 1984, the downstairs of the front part of the garage was enclosed for a new car show room. In 1985, Datsun began the name change to Nissan, at which time the original building got a face-lift with additions to the front and back.
Today, they are a Big Tex Trailer & Can-Am Dealer.
Today Bob's boys, Jimmy and Kent, are in the family business. In 1999, Dusenbery's switched from Big A Auto Parts to CarQuest Auto Parts. They have added Big Tex, Pace American, Look & Aluma Trailers to their product line, and a complete line of Can-Am ATVs & Side-By-Sides.
Bob, Sue, Jimmy, Kent Dusenbery and James Derose maintain the parts operation, bookkeeping, warranty, and claims. Bill Dusenbery handles the car & trailer sales. Dennis Hamilton and Ronny Tanner keep everything running in the Service Department.
Dusenbery is a small operation by intention. This has advantages and disadvantages, but a small operation has a better handle on what's going on and personalized service results in higher customer satisfaction. This is evident in the High Customer Satisfaction scores they continually receive from Nissan.
In a rapidly changing industry, Dusenbery's has tried to maintain an honest and up front approach to their sales, and have not resorted to the razzle dazzle of big city practices.
Having an import franchise in a very small town is not always easy, but customer loyalty has supported them through the years.
"We feel that if we take care of our customers and our community,
they will take care of us."