I could smell the hops from the nearby Sierra Nevada brewery as I opened the door to Chico Volkswagen in Chico, California. The VW team was clearly busy on this slightly rainy day, but someone stopped and asked if they could help me. I told them I had an appointment with Barry and immediately he appeared…LIKE POOF!!…almost as if manifested….it was weird.
Barry was way cool and we hit it off right away. He took me outside to the lot next door where I saw this super clean restored vintage gas station. I have a Sinclair sign myself so it was great to see the Dino pumps. Barry explained to me that the owner of Chico VW was actually in VW service for something like 20 years and as the Chico community grew, he applied for and was awarded a VW dealership. Knowing that the dealership has a foundation in actual VW service is feather-in-cap worthy IMO. The gas station Resto was something that kind of happened in conjunction with the city of Chico. It looked like a real nice setting for a show for sure.
Back at the dealership, Barry explained that though they constructed more modern buildings on site, they kept much of the old Chrysler dealership that had stood there before. They brought in an artist to restore the old mural (which was frekkin awesome) and they also redid the street facing parts as well as made some great interior modifications with growth in mind.
I really really dug the service center, especially when this black GTI rolled in. It purred like a toothless cat on fuelroids and the stance on this thing was absolutely purrrfect. There was much “me wanting” at this point, but I tamped down my overly eager begging gland and refocused on the guided tour.
We quickly checked out a 21st Century Beetle with the futuristic read your fingerprint operating system. Barry said he had gotten used to it, but my head exploded thinking about the concept so I was pretty unresponsive. I did nod, pretending to understand, but I think I might have drooled a little…. Barry is a pro so he just played through. (Thanks for that man).
Back inside we checked out the 70s Super Beetle Vert they have in their Showroom. It’s a one owner car with less than 22k miles on it! Of course I’d lower it and change the wheels and stereo and paint and….. :). But really…it was a very clean car. It’s nice to see the modern dealers embracing the old cars like they do. It’s no wonder these guys have such a popular event in this part of the country.
After all the touring Barry made the mistake of sitting down in a room with only 1 door. Much like a Lion on a Gazelle or a me on a meatloaf sandwich, I pounced. :).
I took a few minutes of his time to show him some of my work for other VW dealerships, and I explained what it is that I can offer a dealership like Chico. I gotta tell ya, it’s really nice to talk to someone that “gets it”. The fact that Barry is a VW owner himself means he fully understands the passion behind the brand so I didn’t have to work so much as just have fun sharing my perspective and my art.
After my dog and pony show, we shook hands, even though I’m pretty sure he wanted a hug. I will give him a rain check on that…I got plenty….next time. :). I walked out of ChicoVW feeling pretty good.
Big thanks to Barry and the entire team at Chico VW for showing me around and allowing me to take some time to do my thing. I really appreciate the opportunity.
…..and yes I made a bee line to the Sierra Nevada Brewery and had an amazing oven roasted Asian chicken pizza and a pint with my friends. 🙂