Pep Boys has re-opened its Service and Tire Center at 712 W. 23rd St. in Panama City, Florida, more than a year after the store suffered significant damage in 2018’s Hurricane Michael. The Category 5 storm destroyed the Service and Tire Center’s bay doors and large sections of the roof, as well as the store’s windows and exterior. While another nearby location was damaged beyond repair, Pep Boys Panama City has been fully renovated and now has 12 service bays with new equipment, additional car lifts and a new waiting area with customer amenities. With both tenured and new employees, the ASE-certified team can perform maintenance and repairs on nearly all makes and models, said the company.
“The re-opening of the Panama City Pep Boys shows our commitment to serving customers, and it’s also a representation of the heart and resilience of the community,” said Brian Kaner, CCO-Service, Icahn Automotive. “Thank you to our employees and customers who stuck by each other during and after the storm. The decision to rebuild in Panama City and be a part of the recovery effort was an easy one.”
After the storm, the company organized relief efforts, sending two Pep Boys Mobile Crew state-of-the-art services trailers to help with storm-related repairs, including the many tires flat from nails and storm debris. Pep Boys pros, some brought in from other locations but many who were facing personal storm-related challenges as well, worked to fix up to 70 cars on some days to get the community back on the road. As demand kept up with shops in the area still closed, Pep Boys Mobile Crew stayed on 23rd Street for 14 months, performing work in the trailer’s service bay and in the adjacent lot.
“We came together as a team to help each other and rebuild this store bigger and better, and the company showed how much it cares for our team and our City,” said Clinnon Harden, Pep Boys area director. “Our customers are telling us they are so happy to have Pep Boys back at full strength, and we are excited to be able to serve them even better than before.”
In addition to sending the Pep Boys Mobile Crew, employees from Panama City and beyond volunteered to help the community. Right after the storm, local teams organized a grassroots barbeque and with donated food, equipment, and time, served hot food and brought comradery to local residents. Two dozen colleagues from Port Richey, Florida, worked with their local community to collect supplies, eventually sending a 26-foot truck of supplies to Panama City. A corporate giving drive organized for Hurricane Michael relief brought monetary donations from across the country into the Icahn Automotive Team Member Charitable Fund, enabling the Fund to give affected team members grants for emergency funds and rebuild efforts.
“While the storm was devastating, it brought out the best in our people and their neighbors, as events like this often do. We are proud of our team members who gave generously and worked so hard to help others,” Kaner said.