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Gene’s Auto Parts Shares Improvements One Year After Devastating Fire

“We got through it all and everything’s going great,” said Terry Dennan, president of Gene’s Auto Parts.

One year ago this Saturday, a devastating fire destroyed Gene’s Auto Parts.

But they’re excited about their new facility.

Three new buildings, improved technology and faster service for their customers are just a few of the improvements they have made.

A fast moving fire ripped through Gene’s Auto Parts in Traverse City on April 8th 2016.

A car they were working on caught fire in their warehouse.

More than $7 million worth of inventory was lost.

No one was injured

"30 years to build, well 58 years we’ve been in business, 7 hours to eliminate it," said Dennan.

In the blink of an eye, Gene’s Auto Parts turned to ruble. But the company’s president says they got right to work rebuilding.

"We looked at our weaknesses after the fire, discussed them and we tried to come up with ways to fix them or make things better and I think we have, our service I think is going to be much better," said Dennan

Out of the three buildings destroyed, the only thing untouched was their cement floor; forcing them to build from the ground up with a top of the line facility.

"We can strip more cars, get more parts into the warehouse, we have more room in our warehouses and we can just get the parts off faster for people," said Dennan.

After the fire, community members, customers and restaurants all pitched in to help…

“Great being in Northern Michigan, not just people from Traverse City, all of Northern Michigan just saying sorry can we do anything to help, it was a great feeling,” said Dennan.

And now a year later, they can see the improvements.

"The first time I went in there after they got done with their remodeling or restructuring if you will I immediately noticed the difference, just modernized equipment, much nicer facility,” said Wayne Moody, owner of D&W Auto.

"The upgrades look a lot better now, it seems to be much more technologically advanced, it’s much more presentable inside and perhaps not as much waiting time,” said Bill Kinzie, customer of over seven years.

"We’re going to do better, our service is going to be better and our products going to be better, everything’s going to be better, 100 percent," said Dennan.