Ground has been broken for a new, state-of-the-art Toyota dealership to be located at the intersection of St. John’s Road and Highway 100, just east of Washington.
Owner Bill Straatmann said he has been looking for a new location for the past six or seven years.
Straatmann, who was born and raised in the Washington area, purchased the franchise from Jim Krafft with Krumsick Motor Company in 1982.
Straatmann had been working as an accountant for Hochschild, Bloom and Dardick (now Hochschild, Bloom & Company LLC) for several years.
“I got familiar with the automobile business sometime in the 1970s,” he said, adding that he worked for a number of dealers in St. Louis where he was first associated with the Toyota franchise.
“I could see the possibilities,” he said.
When he found that Krafft was looking to sell his dealership in Washington, Straatmann said he contacted him and purchased the business with Toyota’s approval.
There has been a Toyota dealer in Washington since about the 1960s.
The dealership was located across from the Washington Public Library until 1990. It moved to its current location at Highway 100 and High Street in 1991.
Straatmann noted that when the current building was built it was what Toyota wanted, an “image store.”
Now, the company is moving to “Image USA II” which “expresses Toyota’s core values of quality, dependability and reliability, and brings them to life throughout the showroom experience,” the Toyota website says.
The New Store
The current site didn’t have enough acreage to bring it to Toyota’s specifications, Straatmann said.
The new location will be more than twice the size of the current building, in excess of 20,000 square feet. It will sit on 3 to 5 acres of land, with room for expansion as needed.
Equipment will be updated. There will be more vehicles, a bigger lounge for customers and more parking space.
The new building is expected to be completed next spring.
Washington Engineering & Architecture is doing the design work and Lewis & Associates, Union, is the construction manager.
Straatmann said he’s looking forward to serving Washington and surrounding communities for many years.
The site’s new address will be 215 George Hildner Drive.