RANTOUL — A longtime downtown Rantoul business fixture will move to another location in the community this month.
The Goodyear Tire Center will move from 211 E. Sangamon Ave. to 501 S. Tanner St.
"Our last day (at the current address) will be (Sept. 22)," business owner Dale Eaker said. "We’ve already retrofitted two bays, and they’ll be adding a 30- by 50-foot addition to the building over the next couple of months."
The Tanner Street property most recently had been used as a stump-grinding business. It is located south of a former car wash that is now a used-car lot.
Eaker, who leases the current site, said the bad condition of the Sangamon Avenue building prompted the move. He said the building "was pretty much condemned."
"It’s time to get a new updated building where we can stay in tune with the customers’ needs," Eaker said.
The business was originally operated by the Goodyear corporation, but the company opted to pull out of Rantoul after the closure of Chanute Air Force Base. Eaker bought the business — but not the building — from Goodyear in 1992. It has never known another home than the Sangamon Avenue address.
Eaker, who has purchased the Tanner Street building from Bill Schluter, said the new locale "will have about the same amount of work space" and will have a showroom.
He said the bay that will be added will be large enough to accommodate semi trucks.
"We will be able to do some semi tires and some light semi maintenance," Eaker said, adding that he plans to keep the same number of employees and might add another technician for large trucks when the new bay is available.
The store currently only works on semi tires when the weather is good — Eaker saying there’s nowhere to work on them at the current site, and he won’t ask his employees to work on them outdoors in bad weather.
Eaker said the move to the new site is happening "a little at a time. They were here yesterday and moved two of our lifts," he said Thursday. "They moved a compressor today."
A new Goodyear sign has been installed on the south end of the new building.
"We have already moved like half of our tires. When the 22nd rolls around, I’ll be here answering the phone, but everything else will be happening over there," Eaker said.
The new site is scheduled to open Monday, Sept. 25.
Economic Development Director Rebecca Motley told the village board at last week’s study session that Eaker has applied for a $70,000 Economic Development Administration revolving loan from the village. The money will go toward the $125,000 cost to add the bay.
The 10-year loan will be at 4 percent interest.
She asked that the village board approve the loan request at the Sept. 12 monthly meeting.
Schluter, who has sold the Tanner Street property to Eaker, received a $10,000 tax increment financing grant from the village in the spring. He sought the grant to improve the property, "which certainly occurred," Motley said. "Now it will be even better and house an expanding business."
The loss of Goodyear means one more empty building in downtown Rantoul.
Motley said from the village’s perspective, a tire repair store downtown is not a compatible use under the village’s new zoning plan, although the business would have been "grandfathered in" if Goodyear had chosen to stay, Motley said.
"We continue to look for retail and restaurant businesses to move in" downtown, she said.