Rusty Eck Ford pitchman can no longer save you any money

Craig Minten and his horse, Holy Ransom, in Saratoga, N.Y.

Craig Minten and his horse, Holy Ransom, in Saratoga, N.Y.

WICHITA — Craig Minten can no longer save you any money, at least not at Rusty Eck Ford.

Minten says he resigned his position as general manager after seven years. He also was the face of the dealership and was known for saying, “If you don’t come see me today, I can’t save you any money.”

“Everybody is sad, and they loved me as their coach,” Minten says of his sales team at the dealership.

He knows that’s not necessarily the version of his departure that’s making the rounds.

“I’ve heard about 100 different versions,” Minten says. “I heard that I was in Thailand today, so … .”

He’s now starting his own marketing and advertising business, which is yet to be named.

“I’m getting too old for the car lot,” Minten says.

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Nathan and Nick Blasi are buying their uncle Les Eck’s Marine World

Nathan (left) and Nick Blasi, who are buying their uncle Les Eck’s Marine World.

WICHITA — In 2010, Marine World owner Les Eck issued a challenge to his nephews Nathan and Nick Blasi, who began running the business for him in late 2008.

“I said, ‘The only way you’ll be a success at running this store is if you treat every dollar … as if you own the place,’” Eck says.

“We took that to heart,” Nathan Blasi says. “From there on, that set the stage.”

Now, the two are going to own the place. Their purchase of the business will be finalized soon.

Eck says he’s selling “because it’s family. Because everybody needs a break in life.”

“They’re very hard workers,” Eck says. “They’ve done a nice job. They’ve complemented each other well.”

Nathan Blasi worked for Eck’s Rusty Eck Ford for five years before moving to Marine World. Nick Blasi played professional baseball. He uses a sports analogy to explain the difference between him and his brother, who used to play football.

“So he played one day a week and got all jacked up,” Nick Blasi says. “I played every day of the week and had to be the same person.”

Nick Blasi is over Marine World’s service department and says he’s good at organization. Nathan Blasi is more outgoing and handles sales and finance.

“We fight just as much as we get along, but I think we’ve always known that we complement each other really well,” Nick Blasi says.

The brothers say they always knew they wanted to own a business together.

“It was just like a dream from when we were little,” Nathan Blasi says. “You need people that you can count on and trust. I know one person I can count on.”

They didn’t immediately know they wanted to own Marine World, which sells new and used boats, three-wheel motorcycles, ATVs, Sea-Doos, skis and life jackets.

“And then we fell in love with the business,” Nathan Blasi says. “There’s something about making people happy … with their toys.”

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Midwest Kia to break ground on new dealership at Kellogg and Tyler

WICHITA — Les Eck is now happy to discuss plans for a new Midwest Kia dealership, which Have You Heard? reported was a possibility a couple of weeks ago.

That’s because Eck is having a groundbreaking today at the southeast corner of Kellogg and Tyler.

“I looked at several locations, and I like the easy access that that corner has,” he says.

“You can literally get from the east side of town to that place without hitting one stoplight. You take the little Texas turnaround — woo, right in. It’s so easy. And easy access is the key.”

The Kia dealership currently is at 6401 E. Kellogg, just across and a few blocks west of Eck’s Rusty Eck Ford at 7310 E. Kellogg.

He bought the dealership from Steven Auto Group, which still owns the building the dealership currently is in.

A Steven representative previously said the company was interested in selling because Kia wanted a new facility, possibly at a different location.

“Kia recognized the facility issues that Wichita had,” Eck says. “Go look at where we’re at. We share a service drive with Mitsubishi.”

Sales, service and parts will all be in one 30,000-square-foot building at the new dealership, which will be on almost seven acres.

“It’s not that way now,” Eck says. “Kellogg and Woodlawn just didn’t have the space that we needed to grow.”

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Midwest Kia franchise may move to the southeast corner of Kellogg and Tyler

UPDATED — When Ford dealer Les Eck announced he was buying Wichita’s Midwest Kia franchise this summer, he said the dealership would “stay at its current location for now.”

“We’ll be doing something new in the future, the next year,” he said.

It looks like that time may be now.

The Oct. 4 agenda for the area planning board has a platting item for something called the KIA addition at the southeast corner of Kellogg and Tyler. The property is 6.71 acres.

The Kia dealership currently is at 6401 E. Kellogg, just across and a few blocks west of Eck’s Rusty Eck Ford at 7310 E. Kellogg.

When Steven Auto Group announced it was selling the Kia dealership to Eck, Steven CEO Harold Johnson told The Eagle his company was interested in selling because Kia wanted a new facility, possibly at a different location.

“After doing (a new) Toyota building, and Infiniti and Volkswagen before that, we said, ‘Let somebody else have that fun.’”

No one is commenting yet about possible new Kia space. We’ll keep you posted.

You don’t say

“I guess he likes me.”

Rusty Eck Ford’s Bill Rosenboom who, upon selling his 23,000th car, received a handwritten note of congratulaions from Ford CEO Alan Mulally that said “Dear Bill” and featured a heart around the “Bill”

Marine World to move to its own site on West Kellogg

WICHITA — Les Eck is moving his Marine World from Rusty Eck Ford on East Kellogg to its own space at 7979 W. Kellogg.

“You know the ironic thing about 7979 West Kellogg?” Eck says. “I used to wash cars there in the 1970s.”

His father, Rusty, had a used car lot there.

“That same damn building was there till I razed it last week,” Eck says.

He says he didn’t even do a walk-through before razing it because it was a junky building even in the 1970s.

Eck is moving Marine World, which sells new and used boats, wakeboards and accessories, for two reasons.

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