Virden a three-dealership town once more
Virden’s third auto dealership is back, but with a brand new building, a new name and a bunch of new faces.
February 1, Virden Chrysler Dodge opened for business on Virden’s TransCanada highway Frontage Road.
With 60 new and a handful of used vehicles on the lot for opening day, February 1, Chris Irvine expects yet another 170 vehicles from Chrysler.
Sitting in his new office with a view of the lot, Irvine says, “We’re about to change the landscape here over the next couple of weeks.”
Chris and Jillian Irvine, parents of three girls, are Virden residents.
As managing partner of Brandon Chrysler Dodge, Irvine has been driving to Brandon for nearly five years.
Like all large ventures, VCD has been several years in the planning.
“We’ve actually been with Brandon Chrysler [Dodge] since 2013 and from that time on, actually before that, we’ve talked about building a Chrysler store in Virden.”
“We’re an oil town, an Ag town.”
Irvine said the big drop in oil prices put plans on ice for a while.
“We weren’t really sure it was the time to do it. We obviously decided last spring that we would get after it. We’re happy with the end result.”
Virden was home to a Chrysler dealership for as long as many can remember, until on September 30, 2010 general manager Keith Harpelle moved the dealership out of town to consolidate with the Brandon store.
Now, Chrysler is back and ready to serve customers.
“We have a pretty good data base in our Virden store. We have a lot of Virden and area customers; so we obviously want to invite them in.”
With inventory arriving daily, Irvine rhymes off a variety of vehicles the Virden store will carry, including SUVs, so successful in the Brandon market.
“We’re an oil town, an Ag town. A lot of cattle producers. I used to run the GM store, once upon a time, so we know what we sold then.”
Irvine says the truck line-up is strong, with the hemi motor as well as a half-ton that is “a little bit unique with a small diesel engine”.
He anticipates a market for three-quarter ton and one-ton duallys too.
“We’ve got an amazing service department,” says Irvine. “We’re really excited about the opportunity to help people, looking after their needs on a day to day basis.”
Offering repairs from start to finish and an accredited MPI outlet, the service department can repair glass as well.
“The garage has several bays to look after vehicles, including the heavy trucks, 4500 and 5500 and heavier.
Need an oil change? There are two dedicated bays to do the job. Just roll up to the door, honk your horn and the technicians will look after you.
“We’ve always known it’s been a bit of an item in the town of Virden, to get an oil change. Not to diminish what anyone else is doing but we thought that was a great opportunity.”
And, for warmer weather, an outside car wash is located at the back of their building.
Car dealerships are significant employers in Virden area.
Starting up with a staff of 25, Irvine is still hiring.
“There’s a couple of opportunities in our service department. That service area can actually employ up to 14 people alone, and there are currently eight in there.”
Irvine now manages both BCD and VCD. He says, “Our staff in Brandon has been very consistent. Our turnover is very low and so we’ve acquired a couple of key people to help me do this in both locations...we’re really happy with the group.”