Nelson’s Bouncing Back After Second Fire

Posted at 8:23 PM, Nov 27, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-27 22:45:52-05


Amidst the sound of off road vehicles starting up and pages over the outdoor loud speaker, are construction crews hammering away at rebuilding, for a second time, Nelsons Speed Shop just north of Greenville.

The shop, torched back in 2001 by arsonists, authorities determined.

Then, Nelsons most recent fire occurred around 1:30 a.m. on June 22 of this year. At the time, the shop was the top seller for snowmobiles in Michigan and the third largest in the nation, according to Yamaha representative, Tony LeFever. An ATF spokesperson said that it has been ruled undetermined, but they are still investigating.

At the encouragement of his customers, Jack Nelson decided to rebuild again.

“We had to consider a lot of different options and areas we were gonna change or do better or maybe we were too big in our old building and needed to change some things, so we regrouped and sat down and actually changed designs probably half a dozen times.” Owner Jack Nelson said.

Jack shared his thoughts on the massive building that went up after the 2001 fire.

“Honestly, I really don’t think we would have done anything any different, you know, obviously maybe some more security cameras or different visual things that way but the building the layout and the formation of it was really ideal other than it was a monster.” Jack said.

An ATF spokesperson said that the June fire in that building is still under investigation, ruled undetermined.

“It’s been tough; this is probably so much tougher than the first one that everybody has felt the pressure.” Jack added, referring to how it has affected his staff. Some have been able to stick it out, while others have had to walk away.

Compliance with new laws made the recent design challenging.

“Unfortunately we’ve had the opportunity to redesign one more time. We’re gonna try to go back to that northern look at that winter warm cozy look in the cabin type.” He added.

The new building is an “L” shape and only takes up 22,000 square feet. However, Nelson has been able to keep his business open, by bringing in temporary trailers for the sales office, parts counter and clothing sales.

If all goes well, the new showroom should be opened up in February of 2013.

“The warmer atmosphere and the look and the style of it will look a lot nicer feel more welcome with people coming in and the customers and people have been very supportive and that kind of keeps you going too, so we’re looking forward to being just as strong or stronger than we were before.” Nelson stated.