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While many car dealerships across the country are closing, Dry Ridge Toyota is bucking the trend.
Rob Marshall, owner of the Dry Ridge Toyota, joined employees, associates and community members Aug. 13 to break ground on a new facility on U.S. 25 off Interstate 75.
“We’ve been very fortunate,” he said. “Our sales are up over the last year in all departments. We’ve been growing through all this. We owe that basically to the great employees and great customer satisfaction. We’re trying to create a facility now with a lot more amenities, a lot more space to relax in and make it very convenient and comfortable for the customers.”
In a down economy, Dry Ridge Toyota also will have available something desired in every community — jobs.
Marshall said he is currently hiring for the expansion.
The dealership has 43 employees now, but he said he envisions having more than 60 when the new facility opens.
More jobs will benefit the entire community, said Dry Ridge Mayor Clay Crupper.
“It’s a big plus for the city, especially with times the way they are now and the economy like it is,” he said. “There supposed to employ maybe 20 more employees. Plus, it’s a good tax base for the city. It will draw people off the Interstate and help the other businesses. It’s going to be a good asset.
During the groundbreaking, Marshall elicited laughter when telling a story about a female employee at a local gas station asking him his thoughts about the new car dealership when Dry Ridge Toyota opened more than seven years ago.
“I don’t know. What do you think?” said Marshall, not revealing his role at the business.
“Nobody down here is going to buy a Toyota,” the woman said. “They’ll be out of business in a year.”
The new site will feature a 36,000 square-foot building — more than four times the 8,000-square foot building at the current dealership.
The available lot size also will increase from two and a half to seven acres.
The Covington-based Hub and Weber Architects designed the plans for the new facility, which will be constructed by Ashley Builders of Edgewood.
Marshall said the project, including the building, land and site work will cost about $6 million.
“They’re supposed to be able to start construction in two to three weeks,” Marshall said. “After that, they are saying between 240 and 305 days, depending on the weather and inspections.”
Marshall describe the new dealership as “maybe the first green Toyota facility in the state.”
The business will capture rain water to use for restrooms, landscape irrigation and car washes. Forty-two skylights will help provide natural lighting during the day and waste oil from the service department will be used to heat the building during winter.
“It’s going to be environmentally friendly and customer friendly,” Marshall said. “We’re going to have large customer waiting areas with a little Internet lounge and a room to entertain (children). For the adults, it’s going to have an exercise room.”
The service department will be wired to the Internet so customers can see the progress of the car while it is being worked on.
The current dealership will be up for sale once the new facility is complete.
“Back in 1992, when we opened up the old Dry Ridge Toyota, we came over with nine employees,” Marshall said. “Today, we are sitting at 43 full- and part-time employees. We are literally bulging at the seams. Our vision, quite frankly, is to grow, and to grow, we need the facility that’s the best to care of my customers.”