20 October 2007
Saturday spottings (not a Hickey in sight)
They're clearing off the lot on the northwest corner of 39th and May, which means that there will probably never be another Dodge dealership at that location.
In the 1990s, Lynn Hickey Dodge had grown to be the largest Dodge store in the world, mostly by changing the Standard Rules for Dealerships:
Recognizing that car buying was one of the two most important decisions that a consumer makes, he disabled the PA system on the lot and gave all the salespeople pagers. He recognized that the constant interference from loud speakers and nonessential announcements interrupted the concentration of the customer at a time when concentration and focusing was upon a critical task. He also was one of the first automobile dealers to discontinue classified advertising in the newspaper, since in the automobile business this is another cause of clutter and confusion for the car buyer.
[From Marketing to the Mind: Right Brain Strategies for Advertising and Marketing, by Richard C. Maddock and Richard L. Fulton (Westport, CT: Quorum Books, 1996).]
This is not to say that Hickey was above wacko promotions: his TV ads were legendarily weird, if not in the Cal Worthington league, and he had folks like Evel Knievel come to the lot. Stories swirled around Hickey, not all of them favorable, and in 1996 he sold out. The new guys promptly reinstated the PA system. (In fact, as late as 2004 folks in the southern section of my neighborhood, which is not so far from the lot, were complaining about the noise from the speakers.) Bob Moore, the last owner of the franchise, moved the Dodges to the Chrysler-Jeep lot on the Distressway, and the place has been vacant ever since, though Tom Park, Hickey's TV mouthpiece for about a decade, has had no trouble finding work.
Now the 'dozers have come, and the For Sale signs are up, and I have no idea what's coming. My guess: a retail strip mall, since there isn't one of those to be found on May Avenue for, oh, almost half a mile in either direction.
Or nothing at all may be coming. The last bits of Harper's Sinclair at 63rd and May were removed almost a year and a half ago and nothing's happened on that corner yet.Posted at 5:05 PM to City Scene