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Ryder Truck Rental Moving From Lebanon, Seeking Higher Visibility in White River Junction

  • Ductwork is stored in the showroom of the former Saturn dealership in White River Junction last week. The building is being renovated and an addition is being built to allow Ryder Truck Rental to move its truck rental service to the long-empty building. (Valley New - Sarah Priestap)

    Ductwork is stored in the showroom of the former Saturn dealership in White River Junction last week. The building is being renovated and an addition is being built to allow Ryder Truck Rental to move its truck rental service to the long-empty building. (Valley New - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Nott's Excavating employees Todd Stanley and Tom Smith work at the former Saturn dealership building last week. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

    Nott's Excavating employees Todd Stanley and Tom Smith work at the former Saturn dealership building last week. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Robert Cookson climbs up a ladder to remove a floodlight as renovation continues on the former Saturn dealership in White River Junction. A Ryder truck rental facility is moving in to the site. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

    Robert Cookson climbs up a ladder to remove a floodlight as renovation continues on the former Saturn dealership in White River Junction. A Ryder truck rental facility is moving in to the site. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ductwork is stored in the showroom of the former Saturn dealership in White River Junction last week. The building is being renovated and an addition is being built to allow Ryder Truck Rental to move its truck rental service to the long-empty building. (Valley New - Sarah Priestap)
  • Nott's Excavating employees Todd Stanley and Tom Smith work at the former Saturn dealership building last week. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)
  • Robert Cookson climbs up a ladder to remove a floodlight as renovation continues on the former Saturn dealership in White River Junction. A Ryder truck rental facility is moving in to the site. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

Lebanon — Ryder Truck Rental is looking for higher visibility and a location more in keeping with the image the Fortune 500 corporation wants to portray when the Lebanon business moves to White River Junction next year, a company spokeswoman said last week.

The company, which purchased the long-vacant Saturn dealership on North Main Street in November for $1.55 million, is planning on moving its entire operation from the Miracle Mile in Lebanon to the new site, said Crystal Chabot, Ryder’s service manager.

“We hope the new location is going to help us be more visible and to grow our business and expand our customer base,” she said.

Ryder will move rental, corporate leasing and fleet servicing to the new location from the rented space on the bluff above Price Chopper and the shopping plaza on the Miracle Mile to the dealership, which closed in 2008. Andrew Button and the Button Automotive Group demolished the old Coach an’ Four motel on the site and built the 10,000-square-foot glass-walled showroom and service area along Interstate 91. Button opened Dean Hill Mazda there in early 2005, but closed it later that year after getting into financial difficulties.

Savoie Realty, of South Burlington, Vt., bought the property from Mascoma Savings Bank and opened the Saturn dealership there in July 2006. The business shut down in November 2008 after the economic downturn that lead to the eventual demise of the Saturn brand. The dealership had 10 employees at the time.

Ryder’s move to Vermont from New Hampshire is becoming more common as some businesses realize that the difference in taxes is not as severe as perceived and that other factors — such as locations and price — are favorable, said James Ward, the broker with Equity Group Realtors in Lebanon who represented Ryder.

“This is the second larger firm that I’ve been involved with recently that has located across the river,” Ward said. “They seem to have more choices over there.”

Ryder’s Lebanon operation has nine employees, but Chabot said the hope is to hire additional workers as the business grows in White River Junction.

Although Ryder isn’t making major improvements to the building — changing paint colors, the sign, raising garage doors to accommodate trucks and adding a wash bay — Chabot said the move will take six months to complete. Once opened, the facility will operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays, according to plans filed with the town of Hartford.

Ryder Systems Inc. was founded in 1933 in Miami and has about 26,000 employees. The corporation is a component of the Dow Jones Transportation Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and has annual sales of $5 billion. Ryder’s stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange and was trading last week in the $49 range, down from its 52-week high of $57 on an average volume of 482,000 shares.

Warren Johnston can be reached at wjohnston@vnews.com or 603-727-3216.