The owner of a Campbell River, B.C. car dealership credits lessons learned through COVID restrictions to helping his staff continue to operate after a recent structure fire.

Scott Kilby is the main dealer for Campbell River Hyundai, which was hit by a fire Tuesday that started inside a maintenance garage.

“When the firefighters arrived and put out the fire, they hit it hard, so of course the water seeped in,” Kilby said.

“But the bottom line is that the fire wall prevented the fire from getting past the store,” he said.

Kilby says renovations will be needed and the back of the dealership will need a complete rebuild.

He says he doesn’t know when things will be completely back to normal and credits his employees for coping with a difficult situation.

“The good thing about COVID is that it has taught us to work remotely,” he said.

“Right now, no one is really freaking out about curbside sales, working from home and responding to customers via text,” he said. “Customers are much more used to ordering over the phone and talking to us that way.”

Kilby says there were only four vehicles damaged in the fire and believes the novelty of the building played a big part in helping firefighters minimize the damage.

“Our building was built in 2014/15, so it’s literally like new,” he said. “So the fire codes are all up to snuff and it did what it was supposed to do.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and Kilby said despite the setback the team was still selling cars and continuing to serve customers.

“Our receptionist works from home and coordinates calls that way, very similar to what we did with COVID,” he said.

Kilby says he is also getting cooperation from other companies.

“The good thing is that one of our neighboring companies gave us a space for our after-sales service to operate, such as a winch and a bay.”

The dealership owner wants the public to know that he is carrying on his business as best he can.

“My team is strong and we are ready for the challenge,” he said.

“We’re all going to stay positive and do our best every day.”

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