Thrifty no more: Car rental office closes in Grand Junction

Thifty Car Rental
Thrifty has closed its office on Horizon Drive in Grand Junction even as revenues for local car rental businesses decline. (Business Times photo by Mike Moran)

Thrifty Car Rental has closed its office in Grand Junction even as local car rental operations report declining revenue.

Thrifty Car Rental closed its office on Horizon Drive in October. A telephone message confirmed the closure, but also indicated the company still was accepting rental car returns as of late October.

The Grand Valley Business Times was unable to reach anyone affiliated with Thrifty, leaving messages with a local cell phone number and the company’s national headquarters.

The closure comes as local rental car operations report declining revenue. According to figures from the Grand Junction Regional Airport, local rental car companies reported a total of $3.98 million in revenue from January through July of 2010. That compares to $4.28 million during the first seven months of 2009.

The airport tracks rental car revenue because it collects a share of proceeds from rental cars leases to customers from the airport.

Thrifty was not a large part of the picture, garnering just 2 percent of total business for the first seven months of this year.

Last year, Thrifty pulled in a little more than 3 percent of the local business for the year. The operation was located off the airport grounds in recent years, across from the Clarion Inn on Horizon Drive.

“For the airport, it won’t mean much,” said Rex Tippetts, director of aviation at the Grand Junction Regional Airport. “It would be a bigger effect if it was at the airport.”

For those rental car companies operating at the airport, National/Alamo captured just more than 27 percent of the business between January and July, while Hertz captured 24 percent. Avis was third with 19.4 percent of the market.

A spokesperson for Hertz said the company had no comment about the rental car business. A representative from Avis also declined to comment.

Tippetts said rental car companies face challenging times across the country with decreasing business travel lowering demand for rental cars.