Beaver Auto Sales owner Joe Carrillo takes a look under the hood of a Chevy Camaro that’s on his lot. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Sitting in his office at Beaver Auto Sales on Tuesday afternoon, owner Joe Carrillo goes over some of the final details with a prospective buyer who has his eye on a vehicle sitting on the Main Street lot. The young man caught a ride to the Philomath business with his college roommate to consider making a purchase.

Yes, Philomath now has an auto sales dealership with Carrillo moving into the building owned by Bill Mayer at 1811 Main St., just west of Towne Pump. Chiseled Spirit CrossFit relocated at the end of this past year and Carrillo moved into the space in February.

“I saw a vision when I saw this place and I talked to the owner, looked at it, and went back and talked to my family and said, ‘this is it, I think this is going to be my next step,’” Carrillo said.

Carrillo, 45, had considered other locations but Philomath fit in well with his comfort level.

“When I came to Philomath, it just caught my eye. I don’t know, it was just something about here,” he said. “This little town has a lot to say — it’s very homey … and just everything here attracted me.”

Carrillo transitioned into car sales after a 12-year career at the Oregon State University Seed Laboratory, which offers accredited seed testing services and contributes to agricultural research and education.

“I’ve always had a love for cars … cars were always my thing,” Carrillo said. “Growing up, I’d make my own cars and clean them and detail them, so I really got into loving all kinds of cars.”

Carrillo grew up and attended school in Corvallis — his family moving in 1990 to the city from California. After high school, he lived in Alsea for a stretch and then later in Albany while getting his career started.

The full-time job at OSU limited Carrillo’s opportunities to work on his cars to the weekends. Then one day 13 years ago, he was approached by a neighbor who asked if he’d be willing to sell his car. Carrillo’s first reaction was no, but then he started to think about the possibilities.

“They came back again and asked if I wanted to sell it and I said, ‘sure, let’s do it’ and so that’s how it all started,” Carrillo said.

When he first came upon it, Joe Carrillo said he could envision his auto sales business flourishing at the Main Street site. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Carrillo resigned from OSU and earned a wholesale dealer license. He established a business out of his home in 2020 buying at auctions and doing dealer-to-dealer sales. Then the COVID pandemic hit to add more of a challenge to the first year in business.

Now, he sells vehicles to the general public with a small lot that typically has a dozen or so cars in its inventory.

In the near future, Carrillo plans to host a grand-opening celebration, which will be announced on his Facebook page. And he’s in the late stages of preparations to begin offering detailing services at his Philomath location.

Carrillo said he has the necessary industry relationships in place to benefit his business from mechanics to body shop workers to detailers. He also can offer prospective buyers financing options.

Carrillo said he’s building a positive relationship with customers, including college students who need an affordable ride. Bilingual services are also available to those who don’t speak English.

The used car market has gone through steep ups and downs over the past few years because of the pandemic. Carrillo believes things are starting to settle down and get back to normal.

“I think everything financially, economically is going back to where it was,” he said. “Cars are dropping down they’re getting back to where the values have stabilized a little bit — slowly but steadily and now you can see it more.”

Carrillo has started to try to put in regular hours at the location to accommodate customers.

“When people come in here, I want them to get good customer satisfaction — to me, that’s the first thing,” he said. “Another thing is I’m not a pushy guy. I show them, I explain everything to them. I actually advise people to go look around, shop around and get a feel for it.”

Occasionally, a prospective buyer will see a car online, fall in love with it and want to immediately put a payment down.

“I’m like, ‘no, you’ve got to come here and check it out,’” Carrillo said. “If for some reason, they don’t like the steering wheel or the seat or something, that’s why I tell them to check it out first.”

Beaver Auto Sales has a Facebook presence where Carrillo will often post photos and information on available vehicles

Brad Fuqua

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.