default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Lodi auto dealers cry foul over out-of-town firm's tent sale

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, September 8, 2005 10:00 pm

Local auto dealers are dismayed that the city permitted an out-of-town dealership to hold a tent sale in Lodi, which they say took away potential business from their lots.

In mid-August, Folsom Lake Dodge held a tent sale for used cars in the parking lot of Big Kmart on Cherokee Lane. The dealership obtained a permit from the city for the three-day event and sales taxes on cars sold at the tent sale will go to the city of Lodi.

But several car dealers and the head of the Lodi Chamber of Commerce took issue with the city granting a permit for an event they say does little for the local economy, while dampening their sales. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Pat Patrick approached the Lodi City Council with those concerns at a meeting Wednesday night.

"We're pumping money into the economy with our payroll," said Dennis Calton, general manager of Sanborn Chevrolet. "These people coming in from out of town aren't doing anything for the city."

Mike Tiehm, co-owner of Plummer Pontiac Cadillac GMC Buick, said "it makes no sense" to let an outside dealer sell in the city when established dealers constantly contribute to Lodi's economy.

"We just invested $15 million into a new facility and they just come in with a tent," Tiehm said.

Patrick suggested city leaders alter the rules allowing such sales by out-of-town firms.

"Am I trying to restrain free trade? No. I'm saying the city should through policy be more considerate of local businesses," he said.

The city's zoning code lumps tent sales into the same category as Christmas tree lots and pumpkin patches, according to City Manager Blair King.

Tent sales aren't allowed in the zone in which Wal-Mart and its parking lot are located, King said. But the area around Kmart is not zoned that way.

Something can be done, though, King said.

"We're sensitive to the issues those auto dealers brought up, and we'd like to resolve this," he said.

King said the city wants to support Lodi's permanent businesses and may look into requiring that tent sales be related to a specific tenant on the grounds where they are held.

Folsom Lake Dodge owner Carlos Hidalgo said his dealership holds tent sales throughout Northern California and sells an average of 30 to 40 vehicles at those events. He said Lodi's dealers have the right to do the same.

"It is free enterprise," he said. "If they want to come to my town and try to do it, go ahead."

Calton said he has no interest in traveling sales.

"I'm not interested in taking my business on the road. My business is in Lodi," said Calton, adding that he would open a traditional brick-and-mortar dealership if he did business elsewhere.

But the city's zoning code could use a review, Vice Mayor Susan Hitchcock said.

"The zoning code is in desperate need of revision," Hitchcock said, adding that it has not been changed in over 10 years. Loopholes in the code could inadvertently hurt local business, she said.

A draft revision was discussed when Hitchcock was on the Planning Commission, but the code was never overhauled, she said, adding that there was little consensus on proposed changes.

"Maybe one of the best things might be to take little piece by little piece as you go through it," she said.

Contact reporter Jake Armstrong at jakea@lodinews.com.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don't pretend you're someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don't insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.


Popular Stories


Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

Total Votes: 218


Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists