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A man for all reasons

Karl Kraync stands by a circa 1976 Jeep J-10 that was produced by Jeep around the time of America's 1976 Bicentennial. This is one of many old car gems that are parked in his auto dealership's service garage.
Frank and "Slock" Kraync stand behind one of their new offerings from Rambler during the opening of their new dealership in 1957. That same building houses Kraync Motors today.

Sun Advocate publisher

It's probably the most unusual used car business in America.

It is also the oldest surviving car dealership in Carbon County.

Kraync Motors is the home of not only a 67 year old dealership that started when the original owner began buying up used cars in places like Brigham City, fixing them and selling them to people in places like Moab during World War II, but is also a place where people come to get counseling and help with their lives.

The owner of the business, Karl Kraync, is a person of many talents. The 67 year old retired State Vocational Rehab worker and supervisor now carries on the family business and plies his skills in psychology and business to assist other people with their lives.

"I was born into the car business," says Kraync, from the office he uses for selling cars that is across the hall from his private counseling office. "I delivered my first car to a customer when I was 13 and then when I was in ninth grade I sold two cars to my teachers at school."

Keeping the family car business alive has not always been easy. Sixteen to 20 hour days were not unheard for when Kraync was working for the state and at the business in the same day.

"I have slowed down a bit now," he said. "Now I only work 11-12 hours per day."

The car business got started with his dad (Frank) and his Uncle "Slock" getting set up at a location at 23 South Carbon Avenue. That was in 1945, and it was also the year that Karl was born.

"Prior to World War II my father worked for Redd Auto here in Price," said Kraync. "After the war started he began that business of moving cars around the state and then after the war they started this dealership."

For years the business sold new and used cars. In that first year the partners tied in with Nash and Kraync said "they sold a lot of them." Then over the ensuing years they added other lines. Buick came on in 1954, Willys Jeep became a part of the business in 1962 and then in 1973 the store started putting out new Oldsmobiles.

"We even had a brief run with International Harvester," said Kraync, pointing out that he meant the trucks and not farm equipment.

"When we took over the Willys Jeep franchise in town I was the parts man here (he was 17 at the time). It was a daunting job taking all that inventory and getting it in order and putting it away," said Kraync.

When Kraync finished high school he went on to two years at Carbon College and then on to the University of Utah where he got a bachelors and masters degree in psychology and counseling. Soon he was at work for the state in Price at the Voc Rehab and then within a few years he became the supervisor for the department. He spent 37 years working for the state and always carried a caseload.

"When I retired from Voc Rehab I decided to keep a small counseling business as well," said Kraync. "However, it has ended up being a much bigger business than I thought it would."

His clients come from all walks of life and he said the work is "very challenging, but also very rewarding."

Through his 44 years of being married to Linda (as well as the car business) Kraync and his wife had three children. Andrea works as a neo-natal care nurse, Karl is a professional engineer and Brandee works in the car business with her dad. He has 11 grandchildren by birth and three by marriage, and his family is expecting their first great-grandchild any day now.

Besides adding to the community by running two businesses, Kraync also is actively involved in economic development.

"I think in one way or another I have been involved in that since the initiation of my career," said Kraync.

This propensity to work with business in development has also taken him to places like Vermont, Georgia, Washington D.C. and has turned into a long term relationship with the University of Montana, where he has helped them develop many ideas for their economic development program.

"I have spent a lot of time doing education," he stated. "I relate well to the people that I work with and train. One of the things that I always bring to light is that my father almost didn't get into this country because of a disability. At Ellis Island they were ready to send the family back to Slovenia until one of the supervisors took an interest in my dad's case and proved that he was by far intelligent enough that he wouldn't be a drain on society. He had had polio and initially they thought he would not add to American society. But he proved them wrong. He was very smart."

Kraync was and is one of they key leaders in the very successful Business Expansion and Retention program that is being used in Carbon County and now many other places in the state.

"I may have been involved but many in the group who have made this happen share the smoke," he said. "There is no I in the group, only we."

Kraync says that Voc Rehab has actually been one of the main economic stimuli in the county for a long time because they helped people to get past their situations and to start their own businesses.

"Business consists of education, capital and mentoring," he says.

But even with all that experience about business there have been times in his car business where it has been a real struggle to keep it alive.

"I always had an increasing role in the business but when my brother Frank died in 1993, it really increased," said Kraync.

Anyone who has visited Kraync's shop area knows that the man has a love with older cars. In the back sit such gems old Buicks, a 1930s GMC truck, old Jeep products and others.

" I love old cars," he said.

Many people his age are completely retired and are doing what they want. However it is also obvious that Kraync is doing what he wants to, although that might change a little in the future. He said he would like to start to cut back at some point and do some traveling with his wife.

However there is something that won't change.

"I always felt that if I couldn't make a difference in the world there would be no reason to exist," he said. "That's just who I am."

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