The story behind Boise’s new Park-It Market

The business offers car and boat sellers a safe place — away from home and off the street — to store and showcase their vehicles.

“Our goal is to be the No. 1 way private parties buy and sell in the Treasure Valley,” says Heather Sanders, who owns and operates Park-It Market with husband Robert Sanders.

The first Park-It Market display lot is at 5033 W. State St. in Boise. It covers 1.25 acres. The business is not a dealership, and it does not sell on commission or consignment.

The couple’s two daughters, Justina Santero and Alyana Sanders, help out with the business for now. The Sanders plan to hire three employees as the business grows.

Q : How does Park-It Market work?

A: The Park-It Market was created with this in mind: Buying a used car should be easy. Selling a vehicle should be safe. Simply drive your car in, pay the parking fee, fill out your sign and tear-off sheets (which we provide), park and lock. No reservations are required. First come, first served.

We provide all marketing material to post on vehicles and Internet advertising. We also advertise on radio, online and use print media to drive traffic to our location.

We can also assist sellers in determining fair market value for their vehicles. There is a lot attendant on site during business hours, and security is provided by Can-Ada Security Co. after hours.

We are not able to discuss or solicit sellers’ vehicles in any way, shape or form. All transactions are done between private parties. Having said that, potential buyers love shopping here for that very reason. When they want information, they call the owner direct.

Q: What’s the history of the Park-It Market?

A: The concept originally was called The Boise Car-Mart, which I started in 2000 at the Boise Towne Square mall. From the beginning, it was very successful and well received by the community. I operated nine months out of the year, due to holiday parking at the mall.

In 2007, I had a lot of changes with family and needed to care for my mother. Along with the demands of being one of the Top 10 real estate agents in Idaho, I was forced to not open in 2008. This is something I have always regretted.

With the increase in stories of online scams and violence, coupled with the number of tickets issued to “for sale by owner” vehicles on the side of major thoroughfares, trying to get seen by the most potential buyers, we decided it was time to bring back the service.

Q: What did you do previously?

A: I have been a successful business owner, real estate agent and proud resident of the Boise area for over 20 years. I am very passionate about our community and work closely with many local nonprofits, to help give back to the community we love so much.

My husband Robert Sanders, aka Cory Mikhals, has been in broadcasting for 30 years, including being [an] operations manager for the largest broadcast company in the world and [a] morning radio host since 1997 in the Treasure Valley. Cory gives hundreds of hours every year to countless charities and nonprofits in Idaho.

Q: What are your goals?

A: The goal for the next three years is to have three locations in the Valley. Nampa will be our second location, opening in early spring of 2016. Within five years, we would like to expand out of state.

Q: Did you get any outside help with startup?

A: I commend the Boise State University [Small Business Development Center] and encourage everyone to take advantage of the services they provide.

Q: Were there any challenges?

A: Finding the location and finalizing the lease was a very long process. We had hoped to be opened in spring of 2015.

In our first month, we are selling inventory faster than we are taking it in! That is great for sellers, not so great for us at the moment; however, we realize the referrals will come full circle from happy sellers. Meantime, we have increased our advertising budget to include print media, radio and [the Internet], letting the Treasure Valley know the service is here. Once people understand our business model, the reaction is always the same: “This is awesome.”