010918-blm-biz-1claydooley

The distinctive architecture of the Clay Dooley building at 307 E. Grove St. is a notable landmark in downtown Bloomington. The business closed its Grove Street location at the end of the year and consolidated its operations at 1507 E. Vernon Ave.

PANTAGRAPH FILE PHOTO

BLOOMINGTON — Clay Dooley Tire and Auto has consolidated its operations into a single location at 1507 E. Vernon Ave.

Although the operation at its 307 E. Grove St. location officially ended Dec. 31, the century-old business continues to thrive, said Ruth Trower, corporate-secretary of Clay Dooley.

The Trower family has owned the business nearly 40 years. It celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding by Clay Dooley in July.

“It was a tough decision to leave the downtown area. We've been there so long,” said Trower, who co-owns the business with her three brothers, Brian, David and Steve. 

The business had been at the Grove Street location since 1987 and before that was just a block away at 210-216 E. Grove St. for about 25 years. The business started in the 400 block of West Washington Street when it was founded by Clay Dooley in July 1917.

The business is in the process of sending letters to customers it has had over the past couple of years, notifying them of the change, she said.

In that letter, company president Brian Trower said, “The consolidation strengthens our ability to serve our customers better at one location instead of being spread thin between the two. The same people you have counted on and trusted to service your needs downtown will be there to help you going forward.”

The business sells tires and does auto repairs and maintenance.

The Vernon Avenue location is open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The old Grove Street location was only open five days a week.

The Vernon Avenue location opened in 1986.

Plans to consolidate in one location have been in the works since the Trowers sold the Grove Street building about four years ago. Ruth Trower said their lease ends in May 2018 and they decided to close the Grove Street location when their fiscal year ended Dec. 31. It will take awhile to remove all the equipment from that location, she said.

The Trowers are hopeful their customers who regularly used the Grove Street location will follow them to the Vernon Avenue location.

Although many of those customers work downtown, Ruth Trower said, a lot of them don't live far from the Vernon Avenue location. The business provides shuttle service, she added.

Follow Lenore Sobota on Twitter @Pg_Sobota

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Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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