Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

Dealerships mostly spared in Kentucky tornado outbreak, trade groups say

But some employees’ family members saw damage, as well as “a lot of people that we know.”

Toyota of Murray also retooled an existing December charity event to help storm victims while launching a new effort.

The Murray, Ky., dealership regularly gives $250 to charity for every vehicle sold during the holiday season, general manager Andy Foley said. It will put the remainder of funds collected this year for tornado relief, dividing the money between Marshall County and Graves County, two regions near the dealership which are suffering after the storm, he said.

Graves County as of Monday had experienced the highest number of confirmed deaths in the state, according to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s office.

Foley expected this could mean between $5,000-$8,000 for each community, depending on sales during time of strained inventory.

The dealership plans to spend another $5,000 to fill a U-Haul with $1,000 purchases of food, water, baby items, toys and toiletries made in areas which might still have the goods. “A lot of stuff around here’s sold out,” Foley said. It has also rented a second U-Haul to carry additional supplies dropped off by the community.

Toyota of Murray will also grant employees a paid absence if they wish to volunteer in local relief work for a day.

“It’s devastating,” Foley said. “… We wanted to do something.”

As far as the other affected states, the Missouri Automobile Dealers Association, Tennessee Automotive Association, Illinois Automobile Dealers Association and Arkansas Automobile Dealers Association had no reports of damage to share Monday. The IADA planned to continue checking throughout the day.

“We were very lucky in Arkansas and didn’t have any dealerships affected,” Arkansas Automobile Dealers Association President Greg Kirkpatrick wrote in an email Monday. “One of our dealership’s did have a weather camera from a local TV station on their roof that captured a funnel cloud right behind the dealership.”