For three long years Bales Auto Mall next to 1-65 in Jeffersonville was caught in the middle of the Ohio River Bridges Project.

“It was pretty devastating,” President David Lewis said. “This was more challenging for us than when the economy crashed in 2008.”

The dealership and service center was blocked off by construction and road closure signs, making it difficult for customers and employees to get there. 

“It's been hard to recruit employees and sales people,” Lewis said.  “How do you recruit a sales person to come to a dealership that has a road closed barricade in front of it?”

Now that the project is over, Bales has to hire new employees and find creative ways to rebuild its customer base. Half of the dealership's business comes from Louisville, so Lewis is using the bridges to his benefit.

“We got thinking about how to do something to break through the clutter, use it to our advantage,” Lewis said.

The bridges are a hook for a Bales commercial to remind people how easy it finally is to cross the river.

His dealership isn't alone.

“Now you don't have the construction, but now you have the negativity of all the tolls,” Neil Huffman Automotive partner Shane Huffman said.

Neil Huffman Automotive has a new bridge-based advertisement. The tolls aren't an excuse for customers to stay away. The dealership offers toll reimbursement.

“We're just trying to stay ahead of it by offering our 'tolls on us' campaign,” Huffman said.

Customers don't have to buy a car to get their tolls reimbursed. They can get a refund for crossing both ways as many times as they visit. If they get their cars serviced, they'll get a toll discount on their bill.

If they buy a car or they go to shop around, they have to fill out a form from the dealership and mail it back with a copy of their transponder bills to get their rebate.

Copyright 2017 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.