Tribune-Courier News Reporter
Businesses come and go, but Leon Riley Ford has maintained its operation on the north side of Benton since 1967 – a feat accomplished by staying on top of its operations.
According to John Solomon, finance manager of the dealership, demolition has been planned for the buildings the dealership currently uses. In their place at 99 North Main St. will be a single building which will serve as the new home of operations.
“The buildings will start coming down next month,” he said. “Everything is coming down. The showroom will stay as is until the new building is up and then the showroom will be torn down and will become part of the lot used to showcase our cars.”
He said it’s an exciting time, as the current building his office is housed in was built in 1961.
According to Solomon, construction on the new facility should be completed in the first half of 2014.
While demolition and construction are underway, parts and service will be housed in the Johnson Plaster & Vinyl Inc. building on U.S. 68 in Draffenville. Everything else, Johnson said, will still be housed on site.
Solomon said the move to build a new facility was not enforced or suggested by Ford, but was decided because if it wasn’t accomplished now it probably never would be done.
Solomon did not name the general contractor, but said that local subcontractors would be used as much as possible during the process and that when completed the facility would be approximately 15,500 to 16,000 square feet.
The size of the new building isn’t much larger than the total of the buildings now in use, but Solomon said the facilities they are currently in have much unusable space.
“We think it’ll be nice to have our operations under one roof,” he said. “This new dealership will be a good thing for the employees and customers of Leon Riley Ford.”
He said the new building will be much nicer aesthetically and said it’ll be a facelift for the north side of town.
Leon Riley Ford has approximately 20 employees and sells around 550 to 600 new and used cars annually.