Shon Walter has what many would call a diverse resume. From radio, to pizzerias, to Laundromats, to selling mortgages, Walter has tried his hand in many different businesses.
The variety of Walter’s interests seems to have also found a voice in his current business, the Moab Tourism Center, which offers tours, rentals and bookings for 14 different activities around Grand County.
“The fun of this business is that it’s like multiple businesses within one business,” he said.
Walter came to Moab about 20 years ago, leaving his radio background to help his father run an RV park.
“Dad started the Moab Valley RV Resort,” Walter said. “I came out to run the RV park and started looking for things to do on my own.”
And he wasted no time in finding those other things.
In 1995 he and his wife opened Isabella’s Pizzeria in a building across Main St. from Moab Ford. They named the restaurant after their daughter and every year put a new picture of her on the menu.
“She was quite famous,” Walter laughed. “People still remember (that).”
During much of that time Walter was also working as a mortgage broker at his other company, The Money Company. In 2007 he decided to close the pizzeria and to move The Money Company into the building.
The Money Company occupied the space for another three years and then in 2010 Walter and his family made the move into the tourism industry and opened the Moab Tourism Center.
“I thought lets do something where I can have more fun,” he said. “This business is just fun for me. I get to be as creative as I can create.”
Because of the time that he had spent in Moab, and his years working at the Moab Valley RV Resort and the pizzeria, Walter already had good understanding of tourism in Grand County.
The next step was to build relationships with different tour operators in each activity.
“We don’t just work with anyone. We looked for professionalism and quality,” Walter said.
The Moab Tourism Center also pushed to partner with smaller, newer companies so that they could grow together.
Moab Jett, a new jet boat tour operator, is one of the most recent additions to the groups that work with the Moab Tourism Center.
“Our relationship has been excellent,” said Annie Adams, the co-owner of Moab Jett. “Shon is great. His personality and excitement about his job are great characteristics.”
In addition to jet boating, the Moab Tourism Center also contracts out tours for a wide range of activities including rafting trips, horseback rides, canyoneering and ballooning.
A large portion of the business are rentals which are run directly through the center. Jeeps, mountain bikes, Razors, and Spider motorcycles are all available.
“We are that lower price point,” Walter said of the business’s rentals, particularly in mountain bikes. “We are very family friendly.”
“We are like a concierge service,” said Tate Schleider, the activities director at the Moab Tourism Center, who has been in Moab since 2008. “We are very personable and we really care about the experiences that our guests have here.”
The 4×4 tours that are offered through Moab Cowboy Country Off-Road Adventures are one of the Moab Tourism Center’s most popular activities. These trips are guided by Kent Green and his wife Cricket, whose family has been in Moab for seven generations. Green is a retired deputy sheriff who also worked as Grand County’s Search and Rescue commander for 21 years.
“You get to either drive and follow behind the guide or you can simply ride with the guide,” Green said of the cowboy tours. “Our main trail is Hell’s Revenge. It’s not about just driving. We stop and we talk about the history, the geology, the archeology, the history of Moab, and the cowboy stories.”
In the coming years Schleider and Walter see the company growing to include the new activities that come to Moab.
But in spite of the success that Walter has experienced at the Moab Tourism Center, he still wants to keep the business small and personal.
“I never really wanted a company that has 20, 30, 40 employees,” he said. “I think as we grow we may only grow into a four or five person company.”
The fun of this business is that it’s like multiple businesses within one business.”
The Moab Tourism Center
Toll Free: 877-907-8334
8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday;
8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Saturday
471 S Main St.