‘Bob’s Dollar Store’: Frisco to remove local man’s eccentrically decorated shipping container

Officials say it is an unauthorized permanent structure and impedes into a public right of way

Ryan Spencer/Summit Daily News
Frisco resident Bob Kessler stands outside his decorated shipping container on Friday, March 17, 2023. The town plans to remove the container from his property because it’s an unauthorized permanent structure and, in its current location, is located about 10 feet into public property.
Ryan Spencer/Summit Daily News

Editor’s note: This story and its headline were updated to clarify that the town of Frisco owns the land within the right of way described in court documents and correct Don Reimer‘s title.

All manner of knick-knacks hang from a wood-paneled shipping container extending beyond the edge of Bob Kessler’s property on the Galena Street Alley in Frisco. 

A red children’s bicycle sits above the entrance. Metal fencing decorates the edge of the roof. Old bottles, birdhouses, antique snowshoes and a sign that reads, “Just Another Day In Paradise” hang from the side.

But, on Friday, March 17, Kessler — who said he has been a resident of Frisco for 25 years — began removing the eccentric ornaments piece by piece. After two years of back-and-forth with the town, a municipal court judge ordered Frisco to remove the shipping container and have it sold at a sheriff’s sale.

“What I’m going to have to do is gut this because they’re going to get nothing,” Kessler said. “They’re going to get an empty shipping container with a bunch of holes in it. They’re going to sell it, and I don’t get any of the proceeds, which is OK — I guess.”

Back in 2020, Kessler purchased the shipping container with the plan of decorating it and using it for a business. The plan, he said, was to run a business on a 1965 bicycle he had outfitted with coolers and ice cream dispensers, using the shipping container as a home base to restock his wares.

“I want it to be fun. I want to make people happy,” Kessler said. “We are going to be more of an act than to make any money.”

But, on Dec. 4, 2020, the town issued a notice of violation to Kessler for installing a structure — the shipping container — without first obtaining the necessary permits and for installing the shipping container in approved parking spaces and snow storage areas.

That set up a more than two-year battle in Frisco Municipal Court. According to information provided by Frisco Communications Director Vanessa Agee, neighbors originally raised concerns that the shipping container was located on a utility easement — so Kessler moved it to its current location.

Even so, according to the town, the shipping container remains an unauthorized permanent structure and, in its current location, it is located in a public right of way, which is town-owned land according to town community development director Don Reimer, and has been impeding Public Works Department operations, including snow removal. Kessler claimed that the shipping container is not on public property and that businesses throughout town have similar containers but have not faced the same pushback.

“They’re picking on the little guy,” he said.

On Aug. 6, Municipal Court Judge Ronald Carlson issued an order to Kessler telling him to “sell, move or remove or qualify the shipping container as a trailer to bring the premises and property into compliance.” After Aug. 24, the order said, if the shipping container has not been removed the town is authorized to remove it and dispose of it through a sheriff’s sale.

Kessler claims that the judge had not said he had to turn it into a trailer but said only “put it on wheels,” prompting him to purchase a trailer to put it on. But he said he was later told that that setup wasn’t legal and that he had to fully convert the shipping container into a trailer.

Then, on Jan. 5, Judge Carlson issued an order for possession, commanding the town to remove the shipping container. So, the town plans to remove the shipping container on Thursday, March 23, and proceed to sell it.

The town expects it to cost between $5,000 and $7,000 for the crane and transport services required to remove the shipping container, according to Agee, who said the town will bear the costs of removal.

The town was also required to pay $1,000 for an appraisal of the shipping container, she said. That appraisal determined the fair market value of the container to be $2,600 and the forced liquidation value — the expected value if the seller is compelled to sell it at a public sale with a sense of immediacy — as $1,690.

But, before the shipping container is sold, Kessler said he is staging everything for a “fire sale” of his own. On Friday, he had a large fire pit ready to be lit in his driveway near the shipping container — which he said looks amazing at night all lit up with lights.

“Wait until you see this thing,” he said.

As for his bicycle business — shipping container or not — Kessler said he plans to move forward with that next summer, so long as he can get the necessary permits. He said he plans to sell “funky stuff,” from coffee and donuts to ice cream and Hawaiian shirts.

“I haven’t really figured out a name, maybe Gypsy Bob’s Dollar Store,” he said. “I’m going to sell soft goods, hard goods and run up and down Main Street.”

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