From scrap heap to storage success:

Real-estate agent Erich Von Batsch tried for years to sell a wrecking yard over six lots, or about eight acres, on Newman Lane in Mound House.

He listed it and sold it, but it eventually fell into foreclosure.

Eventually it sold again, but the owner became ill with cancer and died, leaving instructions with his widow to see if Von Batsch, who had mentioned his ideas for the property, could actually do something with it.

"I had talked to the owner about the idea I had and it seems that it kept coming back to this," Von Batsch said. "It was one of those things you stare at and say, 'I'm going to take the chance.'"

Together with friend and fellow agent Chick James, Von Batsch acquired the property in 2004, which was then the site of Smart Way Auto Wrecking and Salvage Yard, a property that contained more than 120 smashed-up cars, three old mobile homes, a car crusher, out buildings and tons of junk and tons of tires.

Von Batsch and James cleared a lot of it themselves, trading out the car heaps for steel and spent thousands on the removal of about 10,000 tires.

"There was a mountain of tires on the property and it cost a fortune to get them removed," Von Batsch said. "We called in tractors and whatnot to start clearing it."

After the property was cleared, they hired a consultant to determine if there were hazardous materials on the site.

He said it cost about $100,000 just to clean the property up; then they went through a bit of an ordeal with Lyon County to get the proper permits.

They started clearing the property in 2005, and got the tractors in 2006, then ran into complications with the county.

The owners of the property had to jump through hoops to ensure their land was suitable for commercial use, they said, a process that was long and arduous.

"We had to fight every single day we woke up to get this done," he said. "We had $900,000 worth of steel sitting out there waiting to get this done."

But finally it was done, thanks to financing from Irwin bank, the work of Metcalf Construction and their own perseverance.

"We just opened and are looking forward to everyone knowing we are ready for September and October when they want to store their things," Von Batsch said.

They decided to turn it into an affordable but safe RV and boat storage unit, using canopies to cover the expensive toys it sheltered, instead of a closed-in building, to keep costs down.

Von Batsch said there are similar businesses in Mound House, but they are all gravel or dirt. Those with indoor storage usually were cost prohibitive, he said, so he wanted to do something people could afford.

The site that was once a dumping ground is now a suitable storage facility for anything on wheels, including RVs and boats, classic cars, old fire engines and anything that needs to be covered. It's all contained in the new Baron RV and Boat Storage facility that now sits on the Newman Lane property.

"We wanted to get all these RVs off the streets in Carson City and Dayton," Von Batsch said. "There are RVs everywhere and (that's) one of the reasons we did it. I've been an RVer all my life, and people have no place to put it they can afford."

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