Tyler Ag dealership rebuilds after two fires burn their buildings
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas family owned tractor-trailer business is making some big progress on rebuilding their facilities months after the Cokers watched their business of over 45 years burn not once, but twice.
Steve Coker the III grew up around the family business and runs their tractor dealership. He said, “after the first fire, the offices burned down and the trailer shop, but we were able to keep the manufacturing going and kept the parts sales going and servicing trailers, that never slowed down, thank goodness.”
Neither the Coker family, nor their family tractor-trailer business, Coker Enterprises, has slowed down since two fires tore into their facilities within weeks last fall.
“Nobody really anticipates having to start over,” said Coker, “but luckily we have good customers and everyone has stuck with us”
Their main office is the newest facility at Coker enterprises, but the Cokers say it’s not quite the same. In just five years, their old office would have been 100 years old.
“It’s really nice, it doesn’t have quite the.. The history and memorabilia on the walls yet. But we’ll get that up,” said Coker.
Both Coker and his father, Steve Sr. say although there’s been significant progress, the February freeze brought setbacks.
The owner and founder of the business, Steve Coker Sr. said, “we’re glad with the work that’s happened so far. We were hoping we’d be further along quicker but life is just that way and we’re gonna live through it and do whatever it takes to get things going.
Regardless of the rebuilding process, they say it would’ve been impossible without the support and loyalty of their friends and customers.
“Everybody’s been wonderful. Everybody’s been visiting my dad and visiting me, both of us have been in separate offices but my dad’s out in the building and just has a desk pulled up in the middle of the welding shop, selling parts,” said Coker III.
And that’s where Steve Sr. will stay at least for a few more weeks. The Cokers say they should be back and fully operational by next month.
There’s been one man charged with arson for the second fire on October 12fth. Dand “David” Woods was indicted by a Smith County grand jury. If he’s convicted he could face up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 dollar fine. Smith County Fire Marshal Jay Brooks tells us the investigation into the first fire, on September 30th, is still open. Although he says Woods is their main suspect, they’re still working through evidence before they bring any charges forward just yet.
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