Sign of pandemic-era optimism: Galpin Motors rolls Land Rovers into newly renovated dealership
VAN NUYS >> For 20 years, the Boeckmann family of Galpin Motors wanted to add Land Rovers to its fleet of signature car dealerships.
Earlier this month, their years of negotiations panned out and they opened Land Rover Van Nuys on Roscoe Boulevard between the San Diego Freeway and Sepulveda Boulevard in a recently remodeled building that previously housed Lincoln, Jaguar, Volvo, Aston Martin and Lotus vehicles.
Now it houses Land Rover, Jaguar and Aston Martin in the two-story building the family spent several millions of dollars to renovate and which took a year to complete.
The other brands are being sold across the street in a temporary location as part of an all-new campus. Construction is likely to take a couple of years.
“For us it’s literally a dream come true,” said Beau Boeckmann, president and chief operating officer. “Galpin loves our brands and is passionate about the Land Rover. It’s not only about selling cars, but also embracing the passion of the brand and doing it in a way to delight our customers.”
During the remodel process, some of the walls were bumped out to create more space. The second-floor former outside patio area is now inside overlooking the mezzanine where customers can relax while they wait. There’s a playroom equipped with electronic games for children to entertain themselves while their parents are buying or servicing the end-high brand of cars. To make getting an appointment service easier, the Boeckmanns designed the renovated building with 30 service bays, which is more than most auto dealerships can boast.
“Naturally, building something of this magnitude during the middle of the pandemic was a leap of faith and scary at times,” said Jeff Skobin, vice president of business operations. “Thankfully, due to the hard work and dedication of our amazing employees we were able to pull through. Now that we’ve completed construction and opened our doors just a couple of weeks ago, the timing actually worked out beautifully.”
Skobin added: “Ironically, the building we built suits our post-pandemic world perfectly as the showroom is extremely spacious and spread out. We are finding our customers are loving the open space, enjoy seeing cool classic cars and the large Starbucks with outdoor patio. I think the positive mood they feel here mirrors the optimistic mood we are starting to feel with the economy opening up.”
The Starbucks is ground level with access from Roscoe Boulevard.
It has what is believed to be the only sit-down bar area allowing customers to watch the barristers whip up their magic. A comfy living-room style seating area next to an inside-outside fireplace making sipping a latte most enjoyable. And a painting of the coffee bean plantations of Africa, where Starbucks buys some of its products and where the Boeckmann family visited and fell in love with 30 years ago, dominates one of the walls.
A shiny, silver elevator takes you to the second floor where there are a handful of classic Land Rovers on display and for sale.
But the piece de resistance upstairs is the Aston Martin display room designed with a “James Bond” feel and a bank-like vault door once opened reveals the new car a buyer is about to drive off in.
“We are contactless pickup and delivery if someone wants to do it that way,” Skobin said.
Vimal Lala, 48, of Chatsworth, has been a Galpin customer for the past six years and was the first to buy a Land Rover at the remodeled Galpin showroom.
“Before it was really nice,” Lala said. “But now that they remodeled it with the new Starbucks, it’s like the four seasons of dealerships.”
Lala bought a 2021 Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography, his second Land Rover, and also owns an Aston Martin DBS.
He said it felt good to be Galpin’s first Land Rover customer.
“To be the first person to get a Land Rover, I know they have been working on this for a long time, it was years in the making and … it was just about the same time when we were ready to make that deal (trading in one Land Rover for another) so it just worked out perfectly,” he added.
Galpin Motors was founded in 1946 by Frank Galpin in San Fernando. Then, the showroom held three cars.
A decade later Bert Boeckmann became general manager and eventually bought the dealership at the Roscoe Boulevard location, which broke ground in 1966.
It’s where, today, the majority of the family’s 12 brands of cars under seven rooftops are located and the company’s 1,000 employees work.
Nancy Hoffman Vanyek, chief executive officer of the San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce, said the opening of the Land Rover dealership is a sign of economic optimism for several reasons.
“Number one, just the construction alone is job creation,” Hoffman Vanyek said. “You know people have been out of work and now the construction alone brings job creation to the community and then the new dealership. That brings jobs too. It brings mechanical jobs, it brings service department jobs, it brings the parts jobs, office and sales positions.”
She said she knows dealerships had to lay people off during the pandemic, but seeing a nice new building makes people feel good.
“And remember this is not the only sign of hope,” Hoffman Vanyek added. “Don’t forget we have all these sporting events coming … the World Cup, the Olympics, we have the Super Bowl … and all that brings hope too and all of the jobs that go with that. There’s a lot of stuff coming that will help us recover from the pandemic and maybe quicker than we expected.”