The Man Behind Encinitas’ Iconic Herman Cook VW Dealership
by MICHELLE TREMBLAY
photos by Soul of Photography
Dennis Cook began working at his father’s car dealership, Herman Cook VW, during his summer breaks from 1967 to 1970. “…When I graduated from San Diego State University, I came to work full time,” said Dennis. Shortly thereafter, he and his father became business partners and for ten years Dennis helped his father keep the dealership’s reputation in good standing. His father retired in 1980 and, today through his efforts to maintain strong ties to the community, Dennis continues to do his part to keep Herman Cook VW an icon in 92024.
Dennis and his wife, Susan, have been married for 43 years. “We met at San Diego State University, where I served dinner at her sorority house,” he shared. Together with their sons, Collin and Connor (who, by the way, have both worked at the dealership – Connor is currently the finance director), the family has lived in Olivenhain since 1980, where they have enjoyed the area for its quality of life, weather, and location.
Another perk to living in Olivenhain, explained Dennis, is his short commute to work. “I live seven minutes from work,” he described. “It has always been important for me to be involved with my family and community, and that is one of the reasons I have chosen to live and work in the same community.”
And in his community, Dennis has certainly made an impression. Apart from running Herman Cook VW, Dennis is a member of the Rotary Club of Encinitas. “My wife and I started the Encinitas Rotary Cup Soccer Tournament 25 years ago and were the tournament directors for 14 years,” he said. “I am the past board chairman and have served on the board of the Ecke YMCA for 28 years.” Dennis is currently the President of San Diego County Volkswagen Dealers Association, and has served on several Encinitas School and City boards. “I also coached soccer with Leucadia Lightning for a premier traveling team for 10 years and was a soccer ref,” he added.
While continually looking for ways to help improve the community, Dennis’ most recent project is helping to rewrite the general plan for the City, something he hopes to see finished by the end of next year.
When asked about the most rewarding part to staying connected to the community, Dennis replied: “Watching my two sons grow up in the same community and watching that community change over time, but remains a great place to live.
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