Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Local News

November 10, 2011

ATV repair, service business opens in Centerville

CENTERVILLE — All terrain vehicle owners and users now have a local option to get their ATV's serviced and repaired.

The ATV Barn, 1403 Highway 2 west in Centerville, has been open since Oct. 24. The business is located in the old Yamaha building.

Owners Mike Sornson, 57 and Deb Fenton, 52 said they offer service and repairs for all types of ATV's. In the future they might start selling used ATV's, they said.

Sornson said he wanted to appeal to farmers and decided to include the word "barn" in the name of the business.

"Farmers all got ATV's and that's kind of who we shoot for," Sornson said. "I'd say every farmer in the area has got at least two and then you have the people that ride them for pleasure, for the sport."

Sornson has a lengthy ATV resume, having worked for five different ATV dealerships in various parts of the country.  

"This is what I've done since 1990-1991 when I got started in the business working for dealerships," he said.

But never has he worked for himself, which has now changed.

"Time for me to be the man," Sornson said.

Sornson does the repairs at the ATV Barn while Fenton does the paperwork and marketing. ATV vehicles in need of repair or service must be taken to the business as they do not offer field calls.

Business has been good since they opened three weeks ago, they said.

"It's been better than I expected," Sornson said.

How Sornson and Fenton first met, drifted apart and re-connected is a story in and of itself.

The story starts in Audubon, Iowa, where Sornson was born and both he and Deb, who is originally from Newton, attended school together.

"We grew up there basically. We've known each other since we was kids," Sornson said. "We just never hooked up until recently."

They drifted apart and went their separate ways but reconnected approximately 30 months ago through Facebook. Fenton was living in Denver, Colo. and Sornson was living in Omaha at the time when they found each other.

"Through friends," Fenton said about how they reconnected. "He was on or I was on somebody's friend's Facebook. We have a lot of people that we grew up with that are on Facebook and obviously he knows the same people that I know growing up together. So, that's how we connected."

Now they're both together in Denver, when they decided earlier this year it was time to move out of the city and back to Iowa. Fenton and Sornson now live in Exline.

"We decided to move back to this neck of the woods," he said. "You both go your separate ways and that road comes back and hooks up again. It's weird."

Fenton said Tod Faris, Appanoose Economic Development Corporation executive director and Bill Burch played a big part in getting them to Appanoose County.

"Those two played a very big role in this," Fenton said. "Because to me (their involvement) was huge in our decision (to come to Appanoose County)."

Fenton's father was born and raised in Centerville and she has numerous relation living in the area, which is why they decided to return home. For Sornson, this is his first time in Centerville and Appanoose County.

"So that's kind of why we're here," Fenton said. "A, my dad grew up here. B, I have family here. C, he's an avid hunter and there's a lot of four-wheelers in this area. And we like it here."

Sornson and Fenton said they are looking at starting an outfitter business offering guided hunts.

Sornson and Fenton at the ATV Barn can be reached by calling (641) 437-7388. They are open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Saturday from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and closed on Sunday and holidays.

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