A vacant building in North Pekin is occupied again thanks to two local car dealership owners.

Mid-Illini Auto Center owners Jim Shanks and Jayme Roberts purchased the former car wash from Eddie Rice last September.

“This place had sat empty for years and nobody did anything with it,” Roberts said. “We’ve renovated the entire building and it looks completely different than it did back in September when we bought it.” 

“It’s a huge foot print in North Pekin,” said Shanks.  “I think everyone in the community will love it.  We’ve already hired 15 employees and the building looks so much better.”  

Among the 15 employees that Shanks and Roberts have hired for Mid-Illini Auto Center is manager Andrew King, who has 11 years of experience as an automobile service manager.  

Preparing Mid-Illini Auto Center to open for business, according to King, essentially required almost completely dismantling the existing building, then erecting what amounted to an entirely new building.

“The building was taken down to bare bones, then rebuilt with our vision of quality service in mind,” said King. “It has been renovated from floor to ceiling, inside and out.”

Shanks and Roberts own two other local car dealerships, which they started 11 years ago: Pekin Auto Loan, on Auto Row in Pekin, and Mid-Illini Auto Group, in East Peoria.  

“This third location, in North Pekin, will allow us to service all of our customers that have purchased cars from us,” Shanks said.  “It’s unique to have an independent service department with the facility and equipment we have.  We just installed a brand-new, state-of-the-art alignment machine.” 

“We’re looking to combine the level of quality repairs that a big automotive dealership would offer with the values and integrity of a local business,” said King. “We want to support our community and support other local businesses.

Mid-Illini Auto Center is a full service automotive repair facility that handles all mechanical repairs and maintenance.

“We want people to come to our facility, and have confidence that we handle the smallest oil change, the largest engine replacement, and everything in between,” said King.

Mid-Illini Auto Center is currently open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The grand opening and ribbon cutting will be on June 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free food and drinks will be provided.  There will be a raffle for several items including a flat-screen TV and a $500 gift card.