ROCK FALLS – Less than three weeks after suffering a devastating loss, the Moore Tires family is in overdrive, hustling to open the new site in Rock Falls that eventually will have a 21-bay repair shop, a company headquarters and a warehouse.
They don’t have an opening date yet, but they’re taking advantage of the unseasonable weather and “we’re moving as fast as we possibly can,” said Chief Administrative Officer Kayla Heiar, who, along with her brother, Regional Manager Kyle Moore, is overseeing the rebuild at 2400 First Ave./state Route 40.
Their parents, Jeff and Angie Moore, opened their first shop at 2411 E. Rock Falls Road/U.S. Route 30 in 1991; it was totaled Jan. 16 in a conflagration that began around 4:25 a.m. in the first-floor shop area. Firefighters from more than 20 agencies responded, but there was no saving the 70,000-square-foot facility. No one was injured, and no foul play is suspected, fire officials have said.
The city approached the family while the coals still were hot, and the Moores soon entered into an agreement with the Rock Falls Industrial Development Commission to buy the site, which is on the west side of Route 40 just north of the Hennepin Canal, and a stone’s throw away from Interstate 88.
Tuesday, just 21 days after the fire, was a banner day – banners with the Moore Tires name were hung on the new shop building.
The company’s signature big red letters are coming back someday, though, Heiar said.
The transformation so far has been amazing.
When they first saw the building less than a month ago, it was full of road salt being stored there by the city. “We had to haul out 21 truckloads,” gut the building and design a layout for the space before work could begin, Moore said.
There are three buildings on site – a former large truck repair shop run by the late George Hallman, the former S.J. Smith welding shop, and a building that the city of Rock Falls is using as a recycling center.
As of Tuesday, plumbers, electricians and others were busy working on the interior of the new shop, which one day also will have an addition that will stretch it to 21 bays, including space for commercial and agricultural repair jobs, Moore said. That’s the building they are concentrating on for now.
The city will continue to use the recycling center for another year or so before it becomes warehouse space, and the former welding shop eventually will be remodeled into the headquarters for Moore Tires’ six locations, in Rock Falls, at 1315 N. Galena Ave. in Dixon, and in Mendota, Kewanee, Monmouth and Macomb.
For now, they are using temporary office space in Rock Falls for their headquarters’ 10 to 12 administrative workers, while the rest of the company’s 50 workers based in Rock Falls are keeping busy at the Dixon, Kewanee and Mendota locations, and some even are helping out at the construction site, Heiar said.
They’d be nowhere near this far along without the support of their employees, Heiar said. “They’ve been absolutely amazing.”
There is no word yet on the cause of the fire, and it will be two to three months before cleanup can begin, the siblings said.
They’re not yet sure what they’re going to do with it, Moore said. “It’s going to be a long process.”
And a lot of hard work.
They’re not grousing, though.
“We wouldn’t wish this upon anyone,” but the response not only from their employees, but also the community, has been terrific, Heiar said.
“We feel very blessed.”