I’ve always been into cars, all of my friends know it. Though I never really got in-depth with cars, that all changed back in late 2009 when I landed at my first dealership job as a service runner/lot technician at Inver Grove Volkswagen in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.
Back in mid 2009 I purchased my first car by myself, a 1996 Volkswagen MkIII Jetta GL with the ABA 2.0 Inline-4 and a 5-speed manual in (this is the official color name) Black.
It was a wonderful car I got from a used car dealer, and as my first manual car, “Jenna” has sentimental value. However — also as a first car, she came with her foibles. The headlamp switch on the dash malfunctioned so the lights stayed on; like ALL THE TIME. The clutch was starting to wear shockingly thin (partly — mostly my fault), the antenna mast on the driver’s front fender was broken and barely picked up a radio signal, the lock for the trunk didn’t work so anybody could open it (though the vacuum locks on all the doors worked!). The tie rods were absolutely shot and ate though a set of tires in about 7000 miles. One frigid winter day at the Mall of America, she didn’t start at first, finally started and I drove her home. Parked her overnight and tried to start her and alas, no start (ended up being a coil pack). Lastly both front doors leaked air and water like it was going out of style. During a car wash or a torrential downpour both front windows would start to have water dripping from the top down.
Even with her foibles, she had a lot of good points, too! Fuel economy averaged 30mpg in mixed city and highway, for the most part has always started and drove, had frigid A/C and horrifically hot heat, was pretty decent in winter considering the P185/60R14 tire size. Modifications and repairs were pretty simple since everything was for the most part pretty accessible.
In fall of 2009, I was getting my Jetta serviced at Inver Grove Volkswagen. I asked a manager to see if they were hiring, since I needed money, I figured why not? Turns out they were looking for a lot technician/service runner for their quaint little dealership. I filled out an application, and the job was mine.
I had absolutely no clue what the hell I was doing, constantly asking what I should do, what I needed to do, I quickly got the workflow down. My job was to line up cars on the sales lot, keep it organized and restructure as vehicles are added and sold, keep the lot clean and tidy from trash, bring up cars for sales people to show to their clients, washing cars as they become dirty and brooming off cars as they become covered in snow.
All of this, it’s all gone. Inver Grove Volkswagen who was owned by the Pohlad Group in the Twin Cities sold the franchise to Twin Cities Automotive; then Twin Cities Automotive laid us all off as they transitioned Inver Grove Volkswagen to their own Saturn of St. Paul building as Saturn was phased out by GM to be run by their existing employees and renamed to Volkswagen of Inver Grove.
This building has gone through different companies since we’ve left. First it was LaMettry’s Collision, then a storage lot for Toyota of Inver Grove, then through a major renovation of the front entrance has turned into Morrie’s Inver Grove Mazda. The building for the most part still looks the same with Mazda’s corporate flare at the front.