A love of German cars, a major in civil engineering and a focus on perfection drove Brian Sump to own Avalon Motorsports, a high-end automotive repair facility specializing in Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, Porsche and MINI models for owners in Denver and beyond.
Passionate about German cars since tuning his first Volkswagen in high school, Brian knew he wanted to have his own business after retiring from professional football. First, he worked at Avalon Motorsports, which sold performance parts online, before buying the company in 2007 to shift it to a service and repair business model. Under his leadership, the company has demonstrated significant growth including a strategic move in 2011 from a remote location with low visibility to a busy, more prominent address on East Colfax in Denver.
As a result, Brian and his professionally-trained team of factory-certified technicians have created an award-winning reputation for providing superior service and a first-class repair experience. “Great customer service is essential,” Brian stated. “It is the most important element for any successful service-based business.”
Colorado Enterprise Fund involvement
To reach this point, Brian initially approached a bank and the US Small Business Administration (SBA) for financing, and was referred to Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF). “When I first started, I didn’t have the business history to secure traditional bank funding, but CEF took a risk on me.”
In 2009, CEF provided Brian his first loan to assist with the purchase of a new lift and other equipment to transition Avalon Motorsports into a repair shop. With Denver having one of the highest per-capita Audi and BMW markets nationwide, the company quickly outgrew its original space so Brian applied for another loan from CEF to help with the 2011 relocation of his shop plus rebranding and promotion of expanded services, tenant improvements, capital purchases, and employee recruitment and salaries.
Brian’s vision and management have established Avalon Motorsports as the one-stop shop for German car enthusiasts in the Denver metro area, as well as allowing him to expand his operations to include a luxury rental car company, Klasse Auto Rentals, and another repair shop called Urban Autocare. His focus on exemplary service, ethics and quality practices have also garnered his company praise from Motor Age as a 2014 Top Ten automotive shop, plus recognition from the Denver-Boulder Better Business Bureau (BBB) as a 2015 Torch Award finalist, and a spot on the best auto repair list of Denver A-List. Brian and his staff also invest in their community by providing no-cost auto repairs to families in need and supporting a mentoring program for single moms living at Hope House in Westminster.
“CEF gave us two opportunities to receive capital at critical times when we needed to grow,” recalled Brian. “This is when we struggled to get lending through more traditional channels. Small businesses are the key to the well-being of our communities so we help others like CEF helped us.”