Oak Park, Illinois, is probably best known as the home and workplace of Frank Lloyd Wright. Examples of his iconic “Prairie Style” architecture can still be seen all over the old town and its surrounding communities. But now the village, which sits just outside the western limits of Chicago, has a new architectural icon that will attract attention from thousands on a daily basis.
Antonio Scalzo, owner of Volvo of Oak Park, and his son Carmelo, who manages the dealership, devised a brilliant plan to make their store more visible to travelers in both directions. What they came up with was a five-story glass showcase that would tower above the local landscape and would be visible from a greater distance down the road. The glass tower, situated as close to the highway as possible, would hold seven vehicles and be lit up at night.
Working closely with the Village of Oak Park and Volvo North America, the concept became reality when designer and engineer Van Stokes got involved. His company, Stokes Industries, Inc., specializes in automotive parking solutions, such as stackers and automated garages. They came up with the design that not only matches the aesthetics of the existing dealership building, but would also serve as a safe and reliable mechanism for moving cars in and out of the tower.
The official lighting of the tower took place at a private VIP function on the evening of December 14. Oak Park’s president, David Pope, presented Scalzo with a letter recognizing the dealership’s commitment to the community. Jeff Pugliese, Volvo Cars North America’s Midwestern Region Vice President, was on hand as well to inaugurate the new facility. Pugliese hopes this new structure will inspire other Volvo dealers to seek unique and innovative ways to market their businesses and anchor their presence in their communities. Van Stokes, Sr. and his son Van Stokes, Jr. were in attendance to witness the lighting of the tower.
The showroom was converted to a ballroom for the night, and the surroundings were classed up a notch by the presence of a local jeweler and an art dealer, both of whom had their beautiful wares on display. Staff cubicles became bar stations and the customer lounge turned into a gourmet buffet for the ceremony. A string quartet entertained guest before the main event, while afterwards a big-band orchestra belted out Frank Sinatra classics for dancing pleasure. At the end of the evening, guest were thanked with gift bags from Whole Foods Market.
What was celebrated as a wonderful evening by a few lucky folks marks the official beginning of a new landmark for the village of Oak Park. Perhaps future generations will still be speaking of the iconic Oak Park Volvo building.
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