Hudson Auto Center expanding onto former Courtesy Ford site

Hudson Auto Center is moving into a portion of the former Ford dealership on Viking Avenue, and will expand its used-car inventory, while also bringing RV sales back to the area.

POULSBO — Viking Avenue had been a relatively quiet thoroughfare, with struggling businesses, for a few years when Darrin Hudson moved his used car dealership there in April 2014.

Hudson Auto Center has been operating on a lot formerly occupied by a Ford dealership. The small lot held Ford’s used cars and neighbored the larger dealership, Courtesy Ford.

Recently, however, Hudson noticed the area wasn’t as quiet, and it piqued his interest.

“We heard some leaf blowers going on next door,” Hudson said of the former Courtesy Ford dealership that has been vacant since it closed in 2011.

“I went over there to see who was moving into the building, and that led to me asking them to rent out a couple stalls, and then within an hour, I’m renting it,” he said.

The property was recently purchased by American Building & Roofing, which currently has a location down the road on Viking Avenue.

The roofing company is moving into the building as well, where it will have an office and sell its roofing supplies. But there is plenty more room to go around.

Bringing autos back

Less than a year after expanding to Viking Avenue, Hudson is growing his business again. This time, he is growing into part of the neighboring building, part of the old Ford dealership, which includes space for mechanics, detailing and a showroom. Hudson hopes to open the expanded site during the first week of March. A driveway will connect the two locations.

“It gives me 20 bays in the service department, which will have detailing for the public and detailing for us,” Hudson said. “We’ll have a regular service department, like a new car service would have, for getting an oil change, tires changed, and parts changed.”

“It’s good for the community to have a central location to get everything done,” he said. “You can get a car from $3,000 to $40,000 from us and get it serviced at one location. Anything that has to do with cars, you can get it done there.”

The added space means Hudson will add more inventory to his business, such as 2011-14 model cars, which he hasn’t regularly stocked in the past. He recently spent $100,000 to get started on that new inventory. And the expansion won’t stop there. Hudson plans to bring back another product from Viking Avenue’s past.

“We are going to capitalize on that lost market for RVs,” he said.

Poulsbo RV was based on Viking Avenue before leaving in 2008.

Hudson intends to carry used RVs, trailers, motorhomes and fifth wheels. He estimates that, at the beginning, RVs will be about 10 percent of the business. He would like to grow it to about 50 percent.

“We know that market is available,” Hudson said. “Poulsbo RV proved it, and then they left.”

As the business grows, Hudson notes, so will the need for jobs on Viking Avenue.

“We will be looking for sales staff, mechanics and detailers,” he said. “We are probably looking to add 10 people to our roster right away, and a when we grow we will add more. We like to hire local people.”

Hudson is currently fixing up his portion of the building to be ready in March.

Thriving opportunity

The other half of the building will be occupied by American Building & Roofing, the property owner.

“We are completely moving the business there,” said Dave Pruitte of American Building & Roofing. “We will have an office there, and we will have half of the warehouse and the outside area.”

“We are a roofing company and we are in distribution,” he said. “We sell roofing supplies and some building materials. We actually have professionals that work for us, so when people come in they can get help, not just materials.”

More businesses are likely to move into the building as well. Pruitte said there is more room on the property and he is seeking to rent that out as well.

“We have an opportunity for that to be a thriving building,” Pruitt said.

“We are hoping to put one or two people in the front,” he said. “There’s an upstairs too, and I want to give an opportunity to small businesses to come in and enjoy the building. There could be legal offices or medical offices there. The upstairs is huge.”