The blog of Chicago-based freelance writer David Johnsen.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Bert Weinman Ford
We bought our Focus from Bert Weinman Ford on Ashland Avenue. I have been annoyed by many a car dealer in the past, but they were good to us. I liked everybody there and how they did business. To top it off, their location was perfect. I took our car in for its first oil change last week, and it was only a short walk to the L to come home. Then my wife took the L to pick the car up, and she was already halfway to work. I thought it was unusual for a car dealership to sprawl across so much land in a rapidly appreciating area like West Lakeview, but I figured after nearly 40 years they were a neighborhood institution and wouldn't be going anywhere.

Yesterday Bert Weinman Ford announced that they have made a deal with a real estate developer and will be closing up shop. Damn. They stopped accepting service appointments last Thursday, which means we got one of the last oil changes performed on the premises. Fortunately the scheduled maintenance plan I purchased that day is good at all Ford dealers.

Our nearest Ford dealer is actually 0.3 mile closer than Weinman, but it's straight north on Western Avenue, which isn't as convenient for us. It's been only four months since we bought the Focus so I've hardly known Bert Weinman Ford, but I'll miss them. I wish their 40 employees luck in finding another place to work.

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A couple of interesting things here...

It sounds like they might actually be thinking of letting the franchise lapse. Not long ago this would have been unthinkable - a dealership for Ford was a like owning a license to print money. This is a very local symptom of the trouble Ford is in these days, I think. Second, it's interesting to think about this in relation to the mega-dealer that is trying to expand in Old Town. Besides the Ford issues, I think it might be a good example of one dealer able to adapt to a new environment (high land prices) and clientele (younger, yuppier) vs Weinman being unable to.
i have been doing buisness with bert weiman for years great service and great location i cant believe they caved in to the dam yuppies! well i guess money does talk and you know what walks..
...I *loved* the vintage Bert Weinman Ford ads on channel 32 - that lovable old announcer guy!..."...FRIENDS!...I've got a 1971 Buick LeSabre convertable - in PERFECT condition - a STEAL of a deal at only $2995, Bert Weinman Ford 3535 North ASHLAND!..."
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