Thomas Cadillac Of Hartford, Parsons Chevrolet Of Farmington Shut Down
ERIC GERSHON and KENNETH R. GOSSELIN
February 25, 2009
Connecticut auto dealerships continue to disappear amid the meltdown of the U.S. automobile industry.
In Hartford, Thomas Cadillac on Weston Street, a dealership that has operated in the city since 1929, closed last Friday. The closing follows the shutdown in December of Tony March Buick- Pontiac- GMC and Saturn of Hartford, also in the North Meadows area of Hartford.
Parsons Chevrolet of Farmington also shut down Friday. It was founded in 1916 by Robert E. Parsons and had been run by his grandson, Richard Parsons.
Both family-owned dealerships are among the oldest and best-known to close since the start of the year.At Parsons on Scott Swamp Road, cars have already been moved off the lot and will be sold by Southern Auto Auction of East Windsor, Richard Parsons said.
"It just came to the point where I had to pull the plug," Parsons said. "I delayed it as long as I possibly could."
About 50 Connecticut auto dealerships have closed or consolidated in the last 14 months, about 20 of them since the start of 2009, according to the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association.
Falling sales combined with a scarcity of credit for financing inventory and operational expenses forced Parsons to close, he said. About 25 of the company's 30 employees have been laid off. The rest remain to help close up the business, a process he expects to take 30 to 60 days.
In the last year, Parsons' sales of new cars fell 7 percent, he said.
In Hartford, the Thomas family bought what became the Thomas dealership in 1978, and in 1995 they moved it to the North Meadows from its original location on Albany Avenue.
In late January, the Thomas family had sold its Jaguar dealership to Jaguar Hartford for an undisclosed price.
Douglas M. Thomas, the dealership's vice president and general manager, said the Thomas family tried to sell the Cadillac franchise but couldn't get approval quickly enough from the manufacturer.
Business had slowed to such a point "that it didn't seem prudent to stay open," Thomas said.
The dealership had 35 employees. Six transferred to the new Jaguar dealership but the rest have or will lose their jobs.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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