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story.lead_photo.caption Julie Smith/News Tribune Jared Goble spent a portion of his day Monday installing logo signage at Riley Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac on Christy Drive. Goble works for Columbia Sign Service and just one of many subcontractors working to finish up the dealership’s new building which replaces the old one that was heavily damaged in the May 2019 tornado. Although the building looks much the same, some changes have been made including the location of the service entrance which is now on the south side of the building.

The logos and signs went up Monday as work progresses on getting Riley, Buick, GMC and Cadillac reopened in its permanent location.

The facility on Christy Drive has been closed for nearly two years after a tornado destroyed the building May 22, 2019.

"We're pushing to get things done," owner Kevin Riley said. "We don't have a date for the completion of work, but it should be before the two-year anniversary of the tornado."

Riley said he didn't think it would take this long to complete the work on the family business, which is marking its 85th year of service in Jefferson City.

"I thought it would be 10-12 months," he said. "The slow part was working out details with the insurance company, and that took about a year."

Riley said one of the biggest changes customers should notice is where they come in for vehicle service.

"Since 1970, that entrance was on the left or north side of the building," he said. "When we reopen, it will be on the right side which is the south side."

Riley said the facility will be 20,000 square feet larger than the previous building.

"It's going to be more accommodating for customers and more efficient to operate, which will help with our utility costs," he said. "We will still have multiple garage door entrances for our service center, but it won't be as many as we had before. They'll be wider and easier to get in and out of."

The Riley Toyota facility, which is down the street from the Chevrolet store, didn't suffer as much damage and was back up and running about six months after the tornado.

"One thing we did there was heat our service area with used oil," Riley said. "We put in a 12,000-gallon tank for this and after looking at the heating bills from last winter, we saw that it had been worth the effort so we decided to do the same thing at the Chevrolet facility."

He also said the enclosed service area and parts department are going to be larger than what they had at their old facility.

"We didn't re-build the warehouse at our display lot," Riley said. "We used to keep the tires we had for sale in the warehouse, but we found it took a lot of time to go find them and then go put them on a customer's vehicle. Now all that will be in our parts department and that should save a lot of time. We've been trying to think of ways to speed up the pace of service as we put the new building together."

He said the warehouse lot will become a full display and sales lot.

When the new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac dealership opens, the current temporary facility on Missouri Boulevard will close. Riley has been leasing that space since the tornado hit the facility.

"We're grateful we were able to find a place so quickly, but all our people are wanting to get into a brand new facility," he said.

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