Normally, friends and family of Baxter Toyota employees would have been enlisted to move vehicles to the new dealership at 8600 S. 33rd St., which is opening Monday.

But Managing Partner Tom Ballard said he had heard from a number of customers wanting to help out, so he decided to do something a little different.

On Sunday, more than 500 cars, trucks and SUVs will be driven by volunteers from the existing dealership at 6320 Telluride Drive, near Interstate 80, south on 27th Street to Yankee Hill Road and then a few blocks east to the new location.

For each car driven, Baxter will donate $10, with a minimum total donation of $5,000, to the Team Jack Foundation, which is named after Jack Hoffman, a young brain cancer survivor who captured the hearts of Nebraska football fans with his touchdown run at the 2013 Spring Game.

The Team Jack Foundation, based in Hoffman's hometown of Atkinson, raises money to fund pediatric brain cancer research and works to create national awareness for the disease.

The test-drive caravans start at 8 a.m. Sunday, with the Hoffman family leading the way. A new batch of test drives will start about every half hour until all the cars are moved to the new location.

Those interested in driving must be at least 19, and be licensed and insured.

You can find more information about the event and sign up at

The dealership will offer t-shirts, coupons for service and food to the volunteers as part of the effort, which is expected to take most of the day.

"I think it will be a fun day for everybody," Ballard said. "It definitely will be busy."

For Baxter employees, the busy time won't end Sunday.

The new dealership officially opens Monday. It will be next door to Lexus of Lincoln, another Baxter-owned dealership, which opened last Monday.

Both dealerships are much larger than their previous locations. The new Lexus of Lincoln is 40,000 square feet, Ballard said, which is about three times as big as the old one.

The Toyota dealership is 75,000 square feet, two and a half times the size of the old dealership.

Ballard said the need to expand, especially adding space for the dealership's service operation, was a main reason for the move south.

"We didn't have room to expand the shop at the old location," Ballard said.

The new location will have 32 service bays, nearly double the 17 at the former location. It also will have a car wash, something the old location didn't have.

It also has a larger lot and showroom as well as a larger customer lounge, which includes a coffee bar with a barista.

Ballard said a few customers expressed unhappiness about the move, but "it will be more convenient for the majority of our customers."

And once those few unhappy customers see the dealership in person, they may change their minds.

"It's an amazing facility," Ballard said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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