BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)— Hurricane Michael created it, and the pandemic delayed it, but owners finally got the opportunity to celebrate the rebirth of their local car dealership on Tuesday.
They snipped the ribbon to mark the grand reopening of their 75,000 square foot facility.
“It’s bittersweet because we had to go through a lot and you can, ya know, get past that, but you still remember it so it’s been bittersweet,” Dealer Principal Greg Finley said. “There is a big sigh of relief after actually crossing that finish line and having that facility renovated and worthy of the Toyota brand, and we needed to do that just took us a little longer because of hurricanes and pandemics.”
The Senior Vice President and Assistant General Manager of Southeast Toyota Distributors Brent Sergot presented Finley with a Katana Samurai sword to symbolize the dealership’s commitment to the brand and continued success.
“We love the community we want to demonstrate that in a lot of ways we want people to enjoy this facility and we want to be involved in the community whether we sale cars directly through that or not,” Finley said.
Besides the core automotive activities, the dealership has a children’s play area, a beach-themed customer lounge, and a cafe named after the Toyota FJ.
The dealership is also home to Panama City’s Toyota Heritage Collection which is an exhibit of Toyota’s from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.
The $5 million rebuild incorporated environmentally-friendly elements like LED lighting and a car wash that reclaims 90 percent of the water.
“This is a product of so much hard work, so many people supporting the family, the staff being amazing, all of the partners that were mentioned today,” Toyota Spokesperson and family member Olivia Kohlstaedet said.
The dealership also sponsors several no-profits like Girls Inc. of Bay County, Anchorage Children’s Home, and Arc of The Bay.