2strokebuzz sources report that local Piaggio/Vespa dealer Vespa Chicago will soon close their Vespa Boutique on Diversey and their showroom in Maywood (within the Volkswagen dealership of parent company West Suburban Auto Group). The new Vespa dealer for Chicagoland is rumored to be Motoplex USA, a motorcycle/powersports dealership with showrooms in Worth and Joliet, IL, and an upscale Chicago showroom on Wells Street called “Old Town Motocycle Shoppe.”
As Motoplex did not immediately reply to our confirmation request, this information is still hearsay, but such a move seems absolutely consistent with recent changes in Piaggio’s strategy. West Suburban seemed unlikely to add Piaggio brands Moto Guzzi and Aprilia, while Motoplex is already an Aprilia dealer. Old Town Motocycle Shoppe has a prime upscale retail location and employees with motorcycle experience, and Motoplex’ other two dealers may be more accesible to suburban and even rural customers. According to one of our sources, Vespa Chicago’s general manager Dan Kay will move to Motoplex along with Vespa/Piaggio. It is unclear whether Piaggio or West Suburban Auto Group terminated the relationship, why it was terminated, or exactly when the transition will take place. Vespa Chicago opened in 2000, they’ve been Chicago’s sole dealer since Vespa’s return to the United States in 1999.
8 thoughts on “Vespa Chicago closing?”
Our opinion? Our early attempts to communicate with Vespa Chicago left us with the impression they were pretentious, clueless, and totally uninterested in getting involved with any sort of organized scootering (We’re unaware of ANY rides, rallies, or events, even for their customers, sponsored or organized by Vespa Chicago in the past six years). Fair enough, we were happy to ignore them as well, and refer scooter-curious friends to other, more-scooterist-friendly dealerships (either local dealers of other brands, or out-of-state Vespa dealerships). Our brief chat with Dan Kay at the Chicago Motorcycle Show a couple months ago gave us hope: his Harley (and ABATE) background showed us that he understood motorcycles, the Vespa brand, and the importance of community involvement. So, if our sources are correct, we’re glad to see him stay with the brand and Motoplex seems like a much better fit for Vespa.
I have also heard from a very reputable source that this will be happening. For some news sources that would be all the confirmation you would need to treat this as fact. I can say that the dealership has been referring all repair work to the Joliet location.
I am not sure how to read into this but… When I called West Suburban / Vespa Chicago, they directed me to Sam Tomaino. We spoke and he told me he was starting an independent dealership with a possible location on Chicago Avenue. But a quick Google search of his name (http://www.lincolnparkchamber.com/directory/dspCategory.cfm?CID=75) lists him as a principal of West Suburban. Hmmmm
One source tells me the Volkswagen dealership was sold and they weren’t interested in Vespa, so maybe Sam Tomaino and his new company are involved in the Motoplex deal, or maybe Chicago will have two dealers, or maybe my information is all wrong, ha. I’ll see what I can find out. Hearing Sam Tomaino’s name reminds me, I met him very briefly the first time I visited the dealership and he seemed like a friendly and enthusiastic guy.
I just spoke with Sam. Vespa Chicago has relocated to Roselle on Lake Street. Phone number is (630) 936-7980. Helpful? I hope so. Enjoy your ride!
Thanks very much for the info, Wezul! I’ve posted a new story (Vesa Chicago reopens in Roselle.
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