timberland tall boots Demolition begins on Roy O Brien Ford dealership in St
With mixed emotions, workers at Roy O Brien Ford watched the showroom of the iconic business at the renowned corner of Nine Mile and Mack in St. Clair Shores be torn down last week.
Some were sad to see a portion of the 70 year old dealership s history come to an end, but they were equally excited to see renovations to the building and a new chapter for Roy O Brien Ford about to begin.
This was my grandfather s, then my dad s and now my brother (Mark O Brien) is running it it s a family business, said Maureen O Brien Bratto, who has worked in the sales division of the dealership for the past 12 years.
Although it s a family business, the dealership through it s decades old jingle of stay on the right track, to Nine Mile and Mack and community involvement, became part of the fabric of St. Clair Shores and beyond.
In 1946, Roy Edwin O Brien Sr. founded the Ford dealership that would bear his name with a $50,000 investment and 10 employees, according to the company s website. Sales and customer satisfaction grew under the leadership of his son Roy E O Brien Jr., the website states. The company now has 110 employees and an average monthly payroll of more than $600,000.
Roy O Brien Jr. died in 2010 at the age of 81. Maureen O Brien Bratto,
one of his seven children, said she wishes he could have lived to have seen the business take its next major step.
It s sad to see the business coming down, she said Friday afternoon. I know my dad would have loved to have been part of this. It s an icon.
After the demolition is complete, the second phase of the renovations will begin and should be done by late fall. The initial phase was an eight month remodeling of the service department.
The renovations will include a new exterior, service area and parking lot on the northwest corner of Nine Mile Road and Greater Mack Avenue.
The goal of the renovations is to provide a warmer presentation of the company and make the corner brighter and create a new image, Roy O Brien officials told City Council members in 2016.
Plans call for:
A two story facade for the Greater Mack side that will wrap around to the Nine Mile portion
A new delivery showroom
A 5,000 square foot, single story addition to the repair and service portion
Construction of a new parking facility
On Friday, the sales staff would periodically rush outdoors to watch the demolition process as the walls, windows, and steel beams came tumbling down.
The tear down captured the attention of workers and passing motorists for much of Friday, said inventory Robert Krause, a 21 year employee, who videotaped portions of the process on an iPad.