He becomes the second-youngest owner in the history of Volkswagen franchises. Four decades later, Wilder has built an automotive powerhouse on the North Olympic Peninsula.
"I wanted people to come to my dealership and have a great experience."
Dan Wilder Sr.
In 1998 the dealership expanded to its current location at the corner of Hwy 101 and Deer Park Road east of Port Angeles.
In addition to the Volkswagen line, Wilder Auto now sells Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Dodge Jeep Ram and Chrysler. The dealership also expanded to RV sales with the addition of the second location at 1536 East Front St Port Angeles, WA.
Dan credits the success of the business to the family atmosphere - about 20 employees have been with the company for over 15 years. A few have been here more than 20.
They continue the tradition of supporting and nurturing their employees. The company pays for two years of college at Peninsula College to children of employees who want it.
"You're only as good as your employees!"
In 1995, Governor Lowry appointed Dan to the Peninsula College Board of Trustees. He was later reappointed to the board by Governor Locke. He has served President of Washington State Auto Dealer Association and later recognized as Washington State Dealer of the Year by WSADA and a part of the Time magazine Washington State Dealer of the Year in 2010.
The company also takes pride in giving back to the community actively giving to many non-profits and charitible organizations throughout the Peninsula, including Olympic Memorial Hospital fundraisers, Senior Babe Ruth, and Young Life, just to name a few.