Riley Auto Group's Chevrolet dealership in Jefferson City, Mo., was heavily damaged when it "took a direct hit" from a tornado Wednesday, according to a dealership spokesperson.
"Our employees are safe," the spokesperson told Automotive News in a Facebook message. "We are in the beginning phases" of assessing the damage.
The dealership posted to Facebook on Thursday that "Riley Chevrolet and Riley Toyota will be closed to all public and employees until further notice. Our prayers are with Jefferson City and surrounding towns through this time."
Images from Riley Chevrolet showed damage to the dealership building and vehicles stacked on top of each other like Matchbox cars.
A spokeswoman for Riley Chevrolet said about 750 vehicles were on lot at the time of the storm and all of them were damaged.
Kevin Riley, president of Riley Auto Group, released this statement later Thursday:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Jefferson City and surrounding areas who are dealing with the damage of last night’s tornadoes and severe storms. The damage that was caused to our dealerships and other areas of our community is simply devastating, but we are encouraged and inspired by the support we have received thus far. We want the first responders, police officers, volunteers, Lieutenant Governor Kehoe, and Governor Parson, who have acted selflessly and offered help, to know how much their efforts are truly appreciated.
"We are happy to report our employees are safe. In the last 83 years, we have never experienced devastation like this to our dealerships. Riley Chevrolet is a family owned and operated dealership that has stood tall since 1936. This storm may have physically torn us down, but Riley Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac, Riley Toyota, and Riley Collision Center stand tall and will rebuild, coming out stronger and closer than ever before.”