Bad news for dealerships

Published 10:10 pm Friday, May 15, 2009

There may not be a more uncomfortable scenario than realizing that the future of one’s livelihood is in doubt; and, moreover, that one’s future is in the hands of someone else. That’s a frightening scenario, but one thousands of Chrysler and GM dealerships across the country have found themselves in. Since the news surfaced that closures of dealerships were imminent, owners and workers alike have contemplated what their future would hold. Fortunately for Suffolk’s lone Chrysler dealership, the news that came this past Thursday was an answered prayer for the owners and employees. Starr Motors will continue to sell the Chrysler brand and continue to play a vital role in the Suffolk community.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for nearly 800 Chrysler dealerships who received a pink slip. As a result of the worst recession the United States has seen in years, the automobile industry has seen its vibrant businesses deteriorate right in front of their faces. In addition, millions of Americans are now claiming unemployment benefits, with more preparing to do the same.

Chrysler made the decision to inform the public by releasing a list of affected dealerships on Thursday, while GM started to make calls and inform those ill-fated GM dealers Friday. It’s uncertain how long it will take GM to contact each and every dealer, but there still is bad news coming once again to thousands of owners and workers at GM dealerships. Hopefully, Suffolk’s Duke Automotive will continue to be a staple in Suffolk. Lydia Duke, the owner of Duke Automotive, said Friday that she had not received any news either way as of that afternoon. Duke Automotive is Suffolk’s only GM dealer, and like Starr Motors, has been living in trying times and is ready to get back to normalcy.

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The recession has not discriminated against its victims. One thing is clear, though, and that is that Suffolk’s vitality rests in the hands of its residents. To ensure more businesses within the city don’t close their doors, residents must look to Suffolk businesses first before leaving the city limits to spend their money. Although, it may not guarantee a business’s survival, it does ensure that Suffolk supports Suffolk businesses. That’s a message that will help any business during a recession.