David Parker: Around Town with Wood Automotive Group’s new Volkswagen dealership in Okotoks

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The Wood Automotive Group has opened its newest dealership, Okotoks Volkswagen, in the heart of the community on Westland Road. It is the second company dealership serving the town and surrounding area, joining Okotoks Ford Lincoln, which has been a fixture in the Foothills area for more than 30 years.

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“We are excited and proud to open Okotoks Volkswagen, the newest member of our family-owned business, to serve customers throughout the south,” says Gerry Wood, executive chairman of Wood Automotive Group. “It has been just over a year since we acquired South Center Volkswagen in Calgary, which has seen tremendous growth and success.”

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As a satellite operation of South Centre, the new dealership is the first of its kind in Canada.

Pierre Boutin, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group Canada, who attended the official opening last week, said, “Volkswagen Canada has ambitious growth plans, the opening of this store in Okotoks gives residents of the community a great new Volkswagen store in their backyard. Working with the professional, customer-focused team from the Wood Automotive Group has been tremendous.

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Heading up the team at the new dealership is general manager Joshua Buchanan, who also retains that position at the South Center location.

Buchanan has been in the automotive industry for 17 years and joined Wood Automotive Group at its Village Honda dealership in the Northwest Auto Mall but was transferred to the position of general manager of South Center Volkswagen at the time it was purchased in March 2021.

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Excited to add Okotoks to his responsibilities, he is proud of the state-of-the-art dealership that is a total renovation by Barjac Construction of the vacant building that was home to the former Ford dealership before it moved to a new location in Okotoks .

The 9,000-square-foot dealership is designed around Volkswagen Canada’s newest image of a smaller footprint to break into supplying and servicing its full range of vehicles to rural markets.

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The dealership boasts a trendy customer service lounge and 12 service and detailing bays that include one dedicated to electric vehicle service.

There are also three EV charging stations; one for its in-house technicians and two for the use of the general public.

The company has a slogan of “Electric is finally for everyone” and Volkswagen’s ID.4, an all-electric SUV with all-wheel drive offering emission-free mobility, has proved to be super popular. Buchanan says it is the No. 1 selling Volkswagen in the Pacific region and he expects his first shipment to arrive here in the fourth quarter of this year.

They will be met with a good deal of local enthusiasm as he has orders lined up over the past year.

Calgary-based Wood Automotive Group has a staff of almost 600 spread over seven dealerships, a collision repair center and an online pre-owned sales lot. And construction is underway on a new dealership for its Big 4 Motors in Taza Park, close to the Gray Eagle Casino on Tsuut’ina Nation lands, that will relocate from its current location on Macleod Trail South.

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This newspaper’s obituary pages are a must-read, but at times present some shocking news as we discover the passing of someone we have known and admired for a long time.

Such was the case last Friday morning when faced with a photo of Roger Jarvis.

Doesn’t seem long — although it must have been pre-COVID — that he called to say, “Can we have lunch; no agenda, just a catch-up?”

Stretching out to a couple of hours in the pleasant atmosphere of the Ranchmen’s Club, we chatted about Jarvis Travel and his passion for the Stampede and Rotary, and how blessed we both were to be living in Calgary.

Roger was a fine Calgarian who did so much for this city. He was 88.

Peggy Perry, who joined the fledging Willow Park Wines and Spirits 28 years ago and served the past four years in the role of president, has retired.

During her dedicated time there, she helped owner Wayne Henuset to create and develop what has become the largest privately owned wine, beer and spirits retailer in Canada, and did so much to boost its Vintage Fund, which has raised over $4 million in support of local charities and organizations since it was established in 2001.

David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at info@davidparker.ca

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