Moab resident Star Ligon looks over a Jeep at Canyonlands Auto Sales on Tuesday, June 26. The dealership will soon be moving to 1125 S U.S. Highway 191 [photo by Murice D. Miller/Moab Sun News]

Norman Knapp and Lucas Pickens have not one, but two grand reopenings to celebrate in July.

Knapp and Pickens recently purchased the Yama and Son Pawn Shop on 100 South, now renamed Canyonland Trading Company. Under their ownership, this shop will continue to sell what is has been selling for decades: new and used firearms, tools, jewelry and other merchandise.

This purchase happened after the two friends and entrepreneurs had already established and opened the doors to the new Canyonland Auto Sales in 2016.

“We are a small-town, locally owned and operated dealership,” Knapp said. “The buying experience is easy and fun, and we try to make every step simple and enjoyable.”

Knapp and Pickens know their customers, and take the extra step to “fit a vehicle to the person,” Knapp said.

Knapp, a 10-year resident of Moab, was previously managing the Moab Ford Chevy dealership when he came up with his entrepreneurial idea. Seeing a price-range market gap for vehicles that he could fill, he opened his own dealership.

Using his experience of 30 years in vehicle sales, Knapp determined that Moab could use a dealership that sells vehicles in the price range of $10,000 to $25,000, that included used cars, trucks, boats and ATVs.

Knapp recruited Pickens (living in Cortez, Colorado, at the time), who himself had eight years of experience in automotive sales. Sometime around 2011, they began to work together to develop and solidify their vision for a new dealership. The result was Canyonland Auto Sales.

They both had the experience of selling for franchise companies, but Knapp and Pickens decided to go the partnership route and make this new business a stand-alone entity.

“Whenever you work for a franchise store, you’re tied down by the franchise managers,” Pickens said, but as a partner of Canyonland Auto Sales with Knapp, “We make the decisions. We don’t have to call up the chain to get something done.”

“The community has been super in supporting us,” Knapp said. “It’s been a lot of fun. A lot of our clients are people we know. It’s a small community. We talk about everything — families, jobs, homes. It’s typically a friendly conversation through the whole transaction.”

Sometimes, Knapp and Pickens cold-call a customer if something arrives that might be a good fit for this particular person. They also keep wish lists for their customers.

Both the dealership and pawn shop will move simultaneously to their new locations over the July 4 weekend.

Canyonland Auto Sales is relocating to 1125 U.S. Highway 191, the lot immediately north of Shopko.

As soon as Canyonland Auto Sales moves to 1125 U.S. Highway 191, the pawn shop will immediately relocate to 1040 U.S. Highway 191, the present location of the dealership.

“We started with a few vehicles and a lot of hard work,” Norm said. “The community has been very supportive, and we have grown because of that support.”

Although open for less than two years, Canyonland Auto Sales has been able to return some of the community’s generosity to our town’s residents. It has sponsored the PRCA rodeo and this year’s car show. It even donated a car that was raffled off during the indoor prom celebration.

“We just like to be involved in what’s happening in the community,” Knapp said. “There is a very good market for quality used cars and trucks. The business has grown at a steady pace. Trucks are by far our most popular vehicle.”

The grand reopening festivities will be held July 12 through July 14, at Canyonland Auto Sales, 1125 U.S. S. U.S. Highway 191. Free barbecue, prizes, gas cards and other goodies will mark this multi-day, family-friendly event.

Since Knapp and Pickens dabble a bit in collectible and classic cars, those antique car-lovers participating in the celebration will have a chance to see the 1955 Ford F-100 on the showroom floor. This car is for display only, and is consigned to the dealership by a Moab client, Knapp said.

Canyonland Auto Sales to celebrate “grand reopening” at new site; Owners also buy and relocate Yama & Son Pawn

“A lot of our clients are people we know. It’s a small community.”

When: July 12-14; time to-be-determined

Where: 1125 U.S. Highway 191

Cost: Free

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