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Guilford Saab Closing after 34 Years

By Pam Johnson

Published January 18. 2013 9:43AM

After 34 years in town, Guilford Saab announced it will close shop today, Jan. 18, according to letter sent to customers on Jan. 17 from co-owner Nancy Elderbaum. Elderbaum could not be reached for futher comment, but in her letter, cites the takeover of SAAB by GM combined wihth the "recent and final blow to the wonderful brand... when all ties were cut to the retailers." In addition, as Elderbaum notes in her letter, her husand, Phil, whom she said had a "passion for the Saab brand," lost his battled with cancer on Dec. 29, 2012. 

The Courier did speak with a principal management member for Guilford Land Rover, which is on property adjacent to Guilford Saab. Guilford Land Rover remains open under seperate ownership and is in no way affected by Elderbaum's decision to close Guilford Saab.

Elderbaum's letter reads:

It is with great difficulty and sadness that I write you this letter. After 34 years of business, Guilford Saab is forced to close our doors. As you may or may not know, my husband Phil lost his battle to cancer on December 29th. It wasn't without a fight and a major effort on his part to try to be at the store every day to talk with customers and to support his employees right until the end.


Phil opened Guilford Saab in 1979 with a passion for the Saab brand and a vision to take the best care of all Saab owners and enthusiasts. He built a strong team to accomplish what he set out to do with great success. He enjoyed living in Guilford and was proud as he drove around the shoreline towns seeing all of the SAAB's on the road, customers waving and smiling as they passed by.


As all of you have experienced, the takeover of SAAB by GM turned more smiles into frowns, and the recent and final blow to the wonderful brand came when all ties were cut to the retailers. Being put in that position put an end to all new car sales, it limited the parts availability and completely stopped reimbursement for warranty work. During that time there were many discussions and sleepless nights as to whether we close the doors and stop the frustration and financial burden, or try to continue on with the business to take care of our very loyal SAAB customers. Phil's determination to continue to service all of his customers might not have been the best business decision, but he told me it made the customers happy and that was most important to him. Though the financial position we were put in strained the business, staying open made him happy and I wanted to help to keep that spark in him as long as I could.


Our last day of business will be Friday, January 18th. We have been in contact with Charlie Secor at Secor SAAB in New London to help you with your future SAAB needs. Secor Saab is able to perform all the warranty work and also provide you with exceptional service. If you have questions or comments, I would encourage you to contact Phil's partner Susan at Land Rover Guilford, who has offered to discuss options, answer questions, as well as provide services and routine maintenance for your SAAB.


Again, as difficult as it has been to watch a wonderful brand and our 34 year history come to end, I send you this letter to let you know that we all thank you for your continued friendship and support over those 34 years. Phil was so proud to represent SAAB and though he knew quite some time ago that the end was near, he did everything he could to keep the momentum going, his team working and his customers happy. I feel that he accomplished what he set out to do regardless of all of the issues he faced along the way. I can't thank you enough for being such a large part of our lives, with all of the memories and friendships that have been established over the years. I will cherish them forever and will smile every time I pass a SAAB on the road.





Nancy Elderbaum