Distinctive Ride

Crewse Hibbert, 17 is entering his senior year at Mat-Su Career Tech. While changing a vehicle's tires, he said that he really enjoys working at Distintive Ride, that "everyone treats you like family."

WASILLA — Distinctive Ride owner Spencer Richardson and his staff are excited to celebrate the company’s 10th anniversary with a community oriented event Wednesday, July 1 with games, prizes, discounts on various items, and locally prepared food made fresh on site.

“You really feel good about your business when your customers interact with you like that. You get to help people,” Richardson said.

According to Richardson, they had to lock their front doors for two weeks due to COVID-19 while remaining in operation, offering contactless service.

“It was really scary for a while there,” Richardson said.

Richardson said everything is more or less back to normal now, which means things are very busy.

“Only good problems,” Richardson said.

Richardson has 11 staff members currently, and he’s seeking at least two more. He said they’re trying to find a “happy medium” keeping staff and customers happy while staying safe, tirelessly sanitizing the facility.

The 10-year anniversary event was supposed to be held prior to Memorial Day, but Richardson said it made more sense to postpone the event with the Permanent Fund Dividend coming much earlier this year. The $992 PFD will be paid out in July instead of its normal month of October. He said a lot of customers plan purchases around their PFD’s and look to their store for a good deal.

“They know we’re gonna have a good sale for them,” Richardson said.

On Wednesday, visitors can expect a plethora of things to do with plenty of sales going on in between. Tacos Cancun and Becky’s Original Kettle Korn will be onsite serving food.

Richardson said there will be kids games available, and a local caricature artist will be taking commissions throughout the day.

The Button Guys from the Alaska State Fair will also be there, selling photo buttons made right then and there. Customers can either pay directly or donate two non-perishable food items or an unwrapped gift for the Mat-Su Special Santa program.

“We’re hoping most people will bring donations for the community. It’s a scary time for a lot of people,” Richardson said.

Richardson said they wanted to include as many local businesses for the event as possible. He said they’ve always made it a point to give back to the community prior to COVID-19, and they’ve only stepped up those efforts in light of it.

“That’s our number one thing,” Richardson said.

“We grew up in this community,” Richardson said. “If we can’t help the people who need help when they need it, we probably don’t belong here.”

Richardson said one of the biggest highlights of running the business the last 10 years has been watching his employees grow and prosper, especially when it’s a local high school teen developing their skills around seasoned mechanics. Plus, working in the shop is where he and his fellow workers feel the most at home.

“I really like to see my employees succeed,” Richardson said. “Seeing the cool things we do to cars, that’s what gets us out of bed every morning... It really is a family and we all work for each other.”

The event runs from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Distinctive Ride parking lot. The first 200 families can get photo buttons for just $1.

For more information, call 907-373-7433 or visit their Facebook page.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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