One thing Tom McNally and Riverbank Volkswagen have in common is longevity.
McNally, 89, of Stamford, has been buying VWs from Riverbank -- and only VWs from Riverbank -- since moving from New York City in 1973.
"I bought a Super Beetle," McNally said of his first purchase from the Stamford dealership, which opened in 1958. "I wanted a car that was easy to park and economical."
Seven cars later, the retired advertising professional is driving a supercharged 2005 Volkswagen GTI.
"My car's very important to me," he said, adding that the high-powered vehicle gets him second glances at stop signs. "It's my getaway, my freedom."
McNally said his first Volkswagen was a black 1958 Beetle that he bought for about $750 while living in Philadelphia.
"They were just coming out then," he said, who sold the car for $500 before moving to the Big Apple in 1962. "It was a wonderful little car."
McNally said he didn't need an automobile until moving to Stamford, whereupon he went right to Riverbank Volkswagen and has been a patron ever since.
"I've bought nothing but VWs after that," said McNally, whose original salesman was Bill Williams, who passed away about a dozen years ago. "I like the service I get over there, and they've become great friends of mine."
Other VWs he bought from Riverbank Volkswagen over the years include four Beetles, a Rabbit Cabriolet and a convertible GTI, McNally said.
Another loyal Riverbank VW customer is Chuck Ringel, who recently gave his 1999 VW Passat with more than 200,000 miles to his swagen, whose father, Seymour, started the business.
"We try to let every customer know that," he said.
The recession hasn't made business any easier, but Riverbank Volkswagen is doing fine, said Goldstein, whose sons, Seth and Eric, help run the shop.
"Is it easy? Of course not," he said. "If it were easy, everyone would be doing it."
The dealership recently enhanced its online presence with Duet, an Internet service from MegaPath Inc. in Costa Mesa, Calif..
"I've had really great service with them," said Goldstein, adding that 63 percent of his customers visit the Web site. "We get more inquiries through the Internet than print."
It is not unusual for car buyers to go back repeatedly to a dealership that offers good service, said James Fleming, president of the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association in Hartford.
"It has a lot to do with trust, and people want to buy a car from people they know," he said. "If there is something wrong with the car, the customer can go back to the dealership's owner, who can make it right."
Octogenarian on 8th car from dealer