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Sanborn Chevrolet dealership in Lodi will be allowed to renew contract

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Posted: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 12:00 am

Sanborn Chevrolet will remain in business and the 40-plus employees who work there will retain their jobs.

The dealership received a "wind-down" letter from General Motors last year as part of the company's bankruptcy and reorganization.

But it was granted a reprieve last week, a dealership official said Monday.

"Apparently GM looked at the ones they could reinstate without having to go through arbitration," said Dennis Calton, vice president and general manager of the dealership.

Last year, the Detroit automaker informed roughly 2,000 dealerships to prepare to close as a way to pare down its massive dealership network. Many dealerships appealed, and last week GM announced more than 600 would be able to remain open.

Sanborn Chevrolet is one of them. In November, the dealership will sign a five-year deal with GM. All dealerships renew their deals then, Calton said.

General Motors re-evaluated the dealerships it wanted to close and looked at their location, floor plan and what additional services it offers, Calton said. Sanborn Chevrolet has a full-service repair center and auto body workshop. Those assets helped Sanborn's case, Calton said.

The dealership should receive an official letter by the end of the week, and will be able to order cars to sell on the lot shortly after it completes the necessary paperwork, Calton said. Furthermore, the dealership is again able to conduct warranty work on GM vehicles.

A GM official didn't confirm or deny Sanborn's situation.

"We aren't planning on making who we send a letter to public," said Ryndee Carney, manager of GM's dealership communications.

GM won't make a public notice of the 600-plus dealerships that will remain open because they didn't publicly list the more than 2,000 dealerships they sent "wind-down" letters to, she said.

"It's very good news; not only for Sanborn and Chevy, but for GM owners around town," said Pat Patrick, president and CEO of the Lodi Chamber of Commerce.

Patrick said he always liked Sanborn's chances of fighting the closure but was aware of the complications the dealership faced with the company being owned by the taxpayers and the harsh economic climate.

A city council member who lobbied on Sanborn's behalf was breathing easier Monday as well.

"That's outstanding," said Larry Hansen, council member and former mayor, when he learned of the news. "We thought they had a pretty good shot. We are relieved but not shocked they are allowed to stay."

State and federal lawmakers fought for Sanborn as well.

"This is a bright spot in tough times for the local economy and for the local community that rallied together to keep jobs in Lodi," wrote Assemblywoman Alyson Huber in an e-mail.

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, also fought for the dealership and wrote a letter to the Department of the Treasury on its behalf. He argued Sanborn should remain operational because nearly 22,000 of Lodi's more than 60,000 residents have GM vehicles.

Calton said he wouldn't be surprised if that statistic played a role in Sanborn getting its dealership designation renewed.

"Keeping Sanborn buying, selling, and maintaining cars is good for Lodi and San Joaquin County. I was glad to work with the owner of Sanborn and Lodi's elected officials and community leaders to help save the dealership," McNerney said in an e-mail.

Calton was gracious and humbled by the outpouring of support from those in the community who fought for the dealership.

"I want to thank everyone for their support," he said. "There is a huge sense of relief."

One business next door to the dealership is particularly pleased it will remain open.

"A lot of the employees come in and dine or get to-go orders," said Deedee Carpenter, owner of DeeDee's Family Dining in a telephone interview. "We've been neighbors for a long time."

She roots for all local businesses and empty retail spots break her heart, "especially one right next door," she said.

The owner of the dealership said they are in the process of writing a brief letter thanking the community, and it will appear in an upcoming edition of the Lodi News-Sentinel. "Today is a nice day," said a smiling Richard Sanborn, president and owner of Sanborn Chevrolet.

Contact reporter Jordan Guinn at jordang@lodinews.com.

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  • posted at 10:50 am on Thu, Mar 11, 2010.


    This is a reminder to support your local businesses. If you go and buy out of town, you hurt your local businesses chances of survival and it ulitmately effects the entire community when businesses shut down...property values go down, companies and people are afraid to open new businesses, people lose jobs and they move away. Parts of Lodi look like a ghost town. BUY from Lodi businesses. Give them all a chance, tell then what you need, tell them if service is not good...go to the owners if you need too.KEEP LODI ALIVE, Thriving and Profitable!!

  • posted at 6:31 am on Wed, Mar 10, 2010.


    Tiger-If Sanborn was making money for GM then explain why in the world GM wanted to close them? I think Sanborn may have been making money, but GM wasn't, is that possible?

  • posted at 3:38 pm on Tue, Mar 9, 2010.


    The reason Sanborn pushed so hard to stay in business lodibill is that they are an independantly owned franchise. GM provides the products but its up to them to make money and stay in business. You think that there may have been some bad blood from the dealership & GM when they got the termination notice??? Lodi needs a GM dealership in town and as a GM facility they can work on any GM product also servicing warranty work I believe .. Lets all do our best to support our local business folks.. Im sure the appreciation from local businessess is more important now more than ever...

  • posted at 2:24 pm on Tue, Mar 9, 2010.


    Nellie: Don`t cut off your nose to spite your face, its a nice thought. A quarter of a % is not that big a deal. At one time Ford was going to move it`s dealership almost next to Plumber, then the bottom fell out and it look`s like they will stay were they are. On the other hand, depending on which commercial you watch, Ford F-150 truck is the best selling car or truck in the country. If I was in the market for new ride, that Ford Fusion SHO is really hot. Go Henry

  • posted at 1:54 pm on Tue, Mar 9, 2010.


    The reason Sanborn was on the list is because only 10 miles away is a giant Chevy dealership, Chase. They move more cars, period. Plus GM assumed we'd trot down to Chase- wrong! I think I'd buy a Ford in Lodi than give my tax dollars to the city of Stockton.

  • posted at 12:49 pm on Tue, Mar 9, 2010.


    This is great news for the company and the workers who will be getting thier jobs back. But in reality, with the current economey, who is going to be buying?

  • posted at 9:35 am on Tue, Mar 9, 2010.


    From time to time I do business with Sanborn and glad they made the cut, Plumber sold the top of the line GM products, it`s almost a crime to let that magnificent dealership sit there and watch the weeds grow.

  • posted at 3:37 am on Tue, Mar 9, 2010.


    Good news for Lodi!!! Congratulations and best of luck for future success.

  • posted at 1:42 am on Tue, Mar 9, 2010.


    Be as negative as you want about GM but this is great news for Lodi. The last thing we need is another big empty lot on Cherokee Lane.

  • posted at 1:41 am on Tue, Mar 9, 2010.


    I agree with you completely on this issue, observer. Amen! Cherokee Lane can't afford to lose any more large entities nor become any more blighted than it already is. I have to say the motel owners have done a great job in keeping their properties looking clean, neat and well kept, and I say to them thank you for taking pride in those older dwellings.

  • posted at 12:34 am on Tue, Mar 9, 2010.


    Why...this won't last...once the govt stop attacking Toyota and we find out that GM has the same type of problems these dealers will be back up on the block...This economic dowturn is not over yet...

  • posted at 12:17 am on Tue, Mar 9, 2010.


    This is great news for Sanborn and the City of Lodi. Sanborn was profitable and should never had been on that list. Another example of the federal government flexing their muscle. Glad they got it right this time. Congratulations!

  • posted at 11:19 pm on Mon, Mar 8, 2010.


    Why would a business elect to be in a relationship with another enitity that doesn't value their business?In other words, with GM essentially saying, "Take a hike we don't need you" who would want to continue selling the GM product?



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