By 10:30 AM, it was clear that it would be a banner day for downtown New Port Richey. Vintage Volkswagens had taken over the parking lot of Stonehaven at Main (a mixed-use apartment complex on the west end of Main Street). Soon, they were joined by a variety of Corvettes, Mustangs, and a collection of antiques. By the time the event had officially started at 11 AM, the entire complex was buzzing.
For the businesses of Stonehaven, this day was long awaited. While the complex has been open for nearly a year now, it took more than a decade-and-a-half to complete. Many folks, even longtime NPR residents, had gone blind to the site. “It’s important to show that Stonehaven isn’t just a great place to live, but also to shop and play,” explains Jose, co-owner of Main Street Bakery. “Events like the cruise-in highlight our active and vibrant micro-community.”
Today, Stonehaven is at 100% occupancy of its residential units. It’s no surprise why folks are choosing to move there. Businesses like Dented Keg Ale Works, The Butcher’s Block, Main Street Bakery, and Vampire Penguin offer a sense of community, along with convenient access to goods. As Stonehaven’s profile grows, so too does the success of these businesses.
The organizers of the cruise-in are well aware of the impact of the event on these businesses. Craig, Angie, Dan, Jimmy, and Jenny make up our local consortium of VW activists. After a successful first run of the event, they met with folks from The Butcher’s Block and Dented Keg Ale Works to hatch a plan for the next one. “We love hanging out downtown. Dented Keg and Cotee River Brewing are our usual haunts,” explains Craig, owner of the eye-catchingly orange Beetle, BrewDub. “If there’s a way for us to support downtown NPR, we’re going to do it.”
“Cruise-ins are big in the VW community,” says Dan, owner of the terra cotta color Volkswagen bus. Unlike car shows, which involve extensive registration and emphasize competition, cruise-ins “have more of a relaxed vibe to them.” This is certainly true of this past Saturday’s event. With 60 cars registered, more than 80 rolled up to the event.