PLANT CITY — B.M. "Mac" Smith Jr. said goodbye to an era this week, but without any feelings of nostalgia.
Smith watched Tuesday as demolition crews started dismantling the former Jeep dealership at Park Road and James L. Redman Parkway.
The Smith family had owned the property since 1964 and recently sold it to RaceTrac, which plans a 20-pump gas station and convenience store.
"I'm just happy to see it being put to good use," said Smith, 83, as crews tore out air ducts and ceiling tiles. The entire structure will take a week to dismantle, he said. The RaceTrac will open about four months after that.
Next door, another property owned by the Smith family was sold to Ditch Witch, a company that sells and leases construction equipment. Ditch Witch is remodeling the site and expects to open by Labor Day.
The Smith family has operated car dealerships in Plant City since the early 1940s. In 1964, the family opened at Park Road and James L. Redman Parkway. A Jeep dealership opened on the corner, while a Dodge, Chrysler and Plymouth dealership operated next door on Park Road. The two sites total 10 acres.
In 2001, Smith retired and the family leased the sites. The dealerships closed in early 2010.
Rich Shopes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 661-2454.