Driver’s seat: If ever a business had reason to celebrate, it’s McRee Ford, one of the oldest family owned dealerships in the nation.

After more than two years of planning, designing and construction, McRee Ford’s new showroom and repair facility, 2800 Interstate 45 in Dickinson, is complete. Meanwhile, the dealership this year is marking its 70th anniversary.

To celebrate both milestones, McRee Ford is planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. The event, which includes refreshments and giveaways, is open to the public.

The new 85,000-square-foot facility is next to the old facility, which crews demolished. But the move drives McRee from an unincorporated part of the county into the city limits.

The project, from conception to construction, took a little longer than McRee Ford owners expected. Most construction projects do. And with five family members and employees offering input, getting full agreement on a design took some time, said Mitchell Dale, whose family opened McRee Ford in 1947. Early on, crews lost two months of construction to rainouts, Dale said. Then there were issues with getting approval for curb cuts from the Texas Department of Transportation.

But the wait was worth it, Dale said.

“We’re very excited,” Dale said. “It’s very rewarding to hear not only employees but our customers comment about the new facility.

On April 15, 1947, Frank B. McRee opened the doors to his Dickinson dealership, McRee Motor Sales. Shortly after, William “Bill” Dale joined his father-in-law full time. In 1970, Mitchell Dale joined his father and grandfather at the dealership.

Originally, the dealership was in downtown Dickinson, but moved to 2800 Interstate 45 in 1976.

Dale’s son, daughter and son-in-law are the fourth generation to work at the dealership.

Laura Elder: 409-683-5248;

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