After a devastating arson attack ripped through Penticton Toyota’s dealership building last week, the team has been hard at work setting up and securing a new services building.
Toyota has been able to convert their pre-owned building next door into their main headquarters after setting up all of the information technology, phone systems and accounting operations.
They have also purchased a shop space in the industrial area to act as their service bays while they rebuild.
“It came together very quickly. We had absolutely no time to hesitate, we had to make things happen,” general manager Larry Pidperyhora Jr. said.
“Honestly, every day we're getting a lot better. There was a very clear inflection point, we sort of went from being very helpless victims to being forged survivors.”
Pidperyhora shared that everyone on their 58 person team has been key in problem solving and coming together to rebuild after.
“We are open for business, our dealership, this is really a partial shutdown. Our service operations will resume as of June first, and our sales operations have actually never stopped,” he said.
RCMP arrested two individuals the day after the fire, when their investigation revealed arson attacks on the building.
“We suspected it from the beginning. When I had a phone call from the RCMP that they had made two arrests, I had a good sense of relief that there was going to be some justice. At the same time, it's sort of followed up by the fact that this was deliberately set, so that certainly is troubling to process,” Pidperyhora said.
While the team still hasn’t been able to go inside to view the damage, Pidperyhora said it is estimated at a seven figure loss.
“We do hope to be able, at some point, to get in there as soon as possible. So we can start the process of inventory all of our items and inventory and technician tools and personal effects.”
Heading forward, Pidperyhora recommends any business owner out there to look at their crisis management plans, and also to review their insurance policies.
“We were prepared, certainly from an insurance perspective. It's something that we've always believed in, and now it's going to pay off,” he said.
“I think you can always be better with respect to having your plan more ironed out of what to do next.”
No layoffs will be done at this time, as the full staff moves into the next stage of Toyota.
“My number one concern from minute one has always been our staff, a building can get rebuilt ... Building a team is something that takes years and the relationships that you build with these team members, it's not something that can be replaced as easily.”