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Shop Dog: Fido at The Transportation Revolution New Orleans 

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER

The Transportation Revolution New Orleans (TTRNO, 901 Julia St., 595-6776; is home to a fleet of Ducati and Triumph motorcycles, Vespas and one very special model: a sleek, glossy black dog named Fido. "Everyone who walks through that door is his new best friend," says store manager Zach Materne.

  Zach and his brother Max run day-to-day operations at TTRNO, a family business owned by their parents, Gayle and Stephen, who live in an apartment above the shop. The Maternes opened the Vespa dealership in 2002 after a family trip to Rome.

  "Scooters and small motorcycles are everywhere in Italy," Zach says. "It's an efficient way to get around, and we thought it would work well for New Orleans."

   The model proved a success: TTRNO celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. It also has a service, storage and hospitality facility at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale. It offers a range of services from changing tires to renting gear.

  "We're like a motorcycle pro shop," Zach says.

  Fido roams around between the upstairs apartment and the showroom. He experienced some upheaval during his puppyhood: at six months, Fido was seized from his previous owner and placed with the LA/SPCA, where Materne and his wife Sarah found him in 2007. "We went in to look at a litter of puppies and that's when he just walked right over to us," Zach says. "That was a sign he was ready for us to take him home." A Valentine's Day gift for Sarah, Fido was never intended to be a shop dog — but that was how things worked out.

  "It just happened," Zach says. "My wife and I picked him up on a Tuesday, and I had to go [straight] back to work so I brought him, and he has never stopped coming in with me."

  Fido's presence makes the shop a little more relaxed and pleasant. "When I'm in my office making a sale, he'll walk in and soften things up a bit. He's like my closer," Zach says. "If I'm having trouble closing a deal with a customer he will always come into the office and put his head on the customer's lap."

  Though Fido's deep black coat matches many of the bikes in the showroom, his personality is light and sunny. "He's very loving, very soft and calm," Zach says. If Fido isn't sleeping in his personal chair inside Zach's office, he's out greeting customers. The store is open Tuesday through Saturday, and Fido knows his routine.

  "He doesn't like to come to work on Sunday," Zach says. "If I try to bring him in the shop, he just sits on his chair and doesn't move."

My Favorite Things ...

watching motorcycles racing

lying on the couch

chewing zach's socks

greeting customers


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