Tornado-damaged auto dealer celebrates reopening

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Tornado-damaged auto dealer celebrates reopening

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Keowee Auto Sales, which was heavily damaged in the Memorial Day tornadoes, celebrated its grand reopening.

The auto store at 4111 N. Dixie Drive in Harrison Twp. has reopened for business eight months after the company’s building and inventory were destroyed by the Memorial Day tornadoes that ripped the Dayton region on the evening of May 27.

The business hosted a grand reopening ribbon cutting Friday to commemorate the reopening.

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Properties in Harrison Twp. and the Dixie Drive strip were hit hard in that outbreak of tornadoes. Zo's Auto Sales lost nearly 40 cars and sustained heavy damage to its building on North Dixie Drive. Evans Arena auto dealership suffered some $9 million of damage, possibly the single largest claim from the May 27 storm, the Dayton Daily News has reported. 

Dan Foley, a former Montgomery County commissioner, is a friend of Casey Skapik, owner of Keowee Auto Sales, whose father started the dealership in the late 1970s.

Foley said Friday he admires Skapik for continuing to pay his seven employees during the long re-building process and for committing to re-building in the same location.

“The fact that he rebuilt ... I think it’s really good for the community,” Foley said. “It’s a great Dayton small business, and I’m happy for him.”

About 20 used car dealers dotted a stretch of Dixie Drive to the Keowee Street Bridge, Sam Ashburn Jr., owner of Dale’s Auto Sales, told this news outlet in November.

RELATEDEvans Arena dealership celebrates reopening after devastating tornado

“Let’s see,” Ashburn said last year. “There’s probably eight or nine dealerships that, as of right now, are still gone.”He doesn’t expect most of them to come back.

Of the 50 cars on his lot, 47 were damaged. He said he learned too late that his insurance required a separate deductible on each one of them. His car port was thrown over the building next door.

“That big sign I got out front, they found that down close to the interstate,” Ashburn said.

He said they worked day and night to re-open. “I was out of commission for two months, never sold a car, never had a customer.”

In all, 15 tornadoes were counted in that spate of storms, among them a violent EF4 tornado that hit Harrison Twp. after displacing hundreds of residents and businesses in Trotwood and Brookville.