A pair of brothers who entered the used auto sales business seven years ago when the housing slump ate into their dump truck hauling service have restored a flood-damaged structure in downtown Pacific.
Brad and Ed Burt moved their auto sales business, Burts Discount Auto, to 317 South First St. Jan. 1. They have since moved an inventory of approximately 30 cars onto the lot.
Both Pacific High School graduates, the brothers said moving their business to Pacific was an easy choice.
“We have a lot of connections here,” Brad Burt said. “We’ve been around here forever. My brother Ed still lives in Pacific.”
After operating their auto sales at 2978 Highway 100 in Villa Ridge for five years, the brothers began eyeing the South First Street location.
“I probably drove around the building 50 times before we put a contract on it,” Burt said. “That was two weeks before the 2017 flood hit.”
They purchased four connected buildings that occupied half a city block that had been vacant since they were damaged in the 2015 flood. Before the 2015 flood a resale shop, a tavern and a union hall had occupied the row of buildings.
The brothers demolished three of the structures and completely restored the center 30- by 40-foot building, which is the oldest building in the block for their business.
They chose the central building because it had a small garage in back.
“From the beginning we thought of floods,” Brad Burt said. “It was not a question of if but when. We know this building will flood again.”
Burt stripped the interior to bare walls and installed closed cell insulation that future floods would not destroy. The exterior of the building was clad in tin.
The brothers hauled away 18 tractor-trailers of building materials from the site, which was an easy task since they still operate their dump truck business.
“The dump truck business revived and we could make a living at that again,” Burt said. “But selling cars is more fun so we decided to keep both businesses.”
“My brother-in-law, Jeff Brinkmann, is a carpenter. He did all the carpenter work and he hung the tin on the exterior,” Burt said.
Burt described the renovation as an adventure.
“This was my first major renovation,” he said. “It turned out pretty good.”
The business is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.