It was 1991 and I'd just finished a game of racquetball at Twin Arbors.
In the locker room afterwards, I struck up a chat with Daryl Geweke, a regular at the gym â�� and the patriarch of a family which ran several major businesses in Lodi.
I knew the Gewekes were opening a Toyota store, and mentioned to Daryl I was looking forward to taking my Camry there for servicing, versus driving it all the way to Stockton.Â
"Do you need service for it soon?," he asked.
As a matter of fact, I did.
Daryl walked over to the house phone in the locker room, called the service department, and booked the appointment.
Right then, right there.Â
Thus I became one of the first customers of Geweke Toyota. I was also present at the grand opening, covering it for my previous employer, The Record.
Since then, we've purchased three Toyotas at Geweke.
I like Daryl, and I like the idea of spending money locally.
So it's saddening to see the Toyota dealership being sold, the last dealership in Lodi to carry the Geweke name.
(As I write this, there appears to be some confusion. Daryl's son, Larry Geweke, sent over a press release Wednesday night announcing the sale of the dealership to the Lithia auto group based in Oregon. However, our reporter Wes Bowers told me a Lithia spokesman today denies a final deal, dismissing it as speculation.)
In any case, the Geweke empire in Lodi has dwindled. It seems the end of an era, an era built by a visionary entrepreneur who would take the time to personally make a call and set up a service appointment for a customer.