LONG BEACH — Glenn Trusty saw his chance to make an offer on the go-cart track, and he literally he raced to catch them. He and his wife Hillary Trusty laughed on Aug. 1, as they recalled how he “sprinted across the parking lot” calling, “Do you want to sell this property?”
“I probably looked like some kind of crazed lunatic,” he said.
The Ilwaco couple, who own Dr. Roof, plan to reopen the newly-christened “Fun Beach Speedway” later this month. It will have new gear, a new name and a new emphasis on safety and family fun.
For Glenn Trusty, the purchase was the fulfillment of a lifelong ambition.
“That’s a business I have always wanted,” Trusty said. The couple has already begun repairing and cleaning up the troubled property; something city officials had been asking the previous owners to do for years.
“I’m just so tickled pink. They’ve done more work in probably four days than [the previous owners did] in the last 10 years,” Long Beach Mayor Jerry Phillips said. “I just think it’s tremendous, I really do.”
The Merrill Family Trust previously owned the downtown entertainment complex, which occupies a city block at the corner of Sid Snyder Boulevard and Pacific Avenue. Before the raid, Tony Merrill, formerly of Long Beach, had operated the track for about a decade.
The business closed when Merrill and his then girlfriend Doreen Morris were arrested on drug charges, following an April 4 raid on his home and businesses. Since then, several of Merrill’s associates have been arrested and charged for gun, burglary and drug-related charges. Merrill disappeared after bailing out of jail.
At first, it seemed another member of the extended Merrill family would take over the businesses. In July, Julie Merrill, of Ocean Shores, was reportedly negotiating a lease with Tony Merrill’s parents, Robert and Eldora Merrill, Phillips said.
When they met in the parking lot, Julie Merrill told Trusty the Merrill family had no interest in selling their business. He gave her a business card anyway. She called 45 minutes later.
An intense negotiation process coincided with the Trustys’ annual vacation in Hawaii.
“There were a couple of days where my husband literally did not get in the water once,” Hillary Trusty said. “He was on the phone and the computer.”
“I was on a personal mission,” he added.
Glenn Trusty declined to name the sales price, which is not a public record yet, but acknowledged that he paid more than market value for it.
“Let’s just say it was a lot,” he said.
A soon as the Trustys took over, workers cut down the knee-high weeds that had taken over, and began hauling truckloads of old tires and other junk away. Over the weekend, a roofing crew replaced the roof on the ticket booth.
Long Beach officials and state agencies had been asking Tony Merrill to deal with those issues and other safety hazards and code violations for at least a couple of years. Phillips said he, City Administrator David Glasson and Fire and Building Inspector Matt Bonney provided the Trustys with a list of issues they’d have to address before and after opening.
Glenn Trusty is “already way ahead of the game,” Phillips said. “He is doing a fantastic job of meeting requirements, getting everything done the right way.”
The Trustys said they remembered when the amusement complex thrived under the management of Robert and Eldora Merrill. That helped them see its potential to be a positive, family and community-oriented business. Despite everything that happened after their son Tony took over, the Trustys said the elder Merrills still wanted to find a buyer who would care about the business.
“That meant something to them,” he said. “It had to not be just about the money, it had to be about the right fit for them.”
Although the Trustys now own the whole city block, including the shuttered Long Beach Mopeds and Long Beach Krazy Kars buildings, the focus this year will be on the track.
“The biggest priority was to clean up the property and get the track running, so that we could begin to generate some revenue to fund the expedition,” Glenn Trusty joked. “We have a lot of plans for the rest of the property that I think people are going to be very excited to see.”
Right now, they’re refurbishing a few of the older go-carts, and waiting for an order of new carts to arrive. They are also installing a new safety railing and another safety feature called a “pit gate.” They’re consulting with state workplace safety experts, and will soon be doing a two-day training with an experienced amusement park operator. Soon, they’ll be hiring four to six part-time workers to run the track, but they expect to be “very” involved in day-to-day operations for the foreseeable future.
Eventually, they may open another amusement-oriented business in the moped building, or rent it to a tenant. However, new bike and moped rental ventures have opened since Merrill went out of business, and they don’t want to compete with them.
“We don’t have any intentions of being in the moped business,” Glenn Trusty said. “We are in support and hope that the existing bike and moped shops find great success.”
He said they also have plans for the large green “Krazy Kars” building, but for now, they’re only
“We do have plans in mind, but those kind are of surprises,” Trusty said.
Interested in working at the go-cart track? Email your resume and a brief letter of introduction to Trusty1@charter.net.