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Fred Beans fighting back against dealership closures


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Below is a letter written by Richard Weitzman, Director of the Philadelphia Office of SRS Real Estate Partners (formerly known as Staubach Retail Services):

June 12, 2009

RE: GM Termination of Fred Beans Pontiac/Buick/GMC of Limerick PA

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Richard Weitzman, and I am Director in the Philadelphia office of SRS Real Estate Partners formerly known as Staubach Retail Services.

Our Dallas Texas based firm is the largest national provider of real estate services to the retail automobile industry. The Staubach AutoGroup practice was established some 10 years ago. We transact land and dealership sales, which involve demographic study, market review, and trade area analysis. We provide development, construction, and financing services for the dealer and manufacturer sector as well.

It might be said that most everything we do begins and ends with dealership LOCATION.  As a firm we have closed hundreds of automotive deals. As an individual broker—with a focus in the PA/NJ region—I have participated in dozens of such transactions.

Included is specific involvement in the Limerick, PA area and with what has become known as the Route 422 Auto-Mall:

  • I represented the original project developer starting in the planning stages.
  • I sold the current Pontiac/Buick/GMC dealership to Fred Beans.
  • I sold some 50 acres of automotive-zoned land to the current dealer-developer.
  • I sold the Nissan franchise to Fred Beans.

Mr. Beans was one of the original visionaries and risk-takers in Limerick. When he acquired the newly-built GM facility in 2001, it was the sole auto dealership along Route 422. However, like many of us, Fred believed that this community represented THE FUTURE. He has since added Saturn.

In the ensuing years, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai have all moved in. The presence of these import franchises speaks volumes. Their growth contrasts with the decline of the Detroit Big Three. Part of the reason, I believe, is that the import brands—especially—seem to understand dealer placement and retail distribution.

Now there is no argument from me that there are many poorly located and badly run dealerships that should close.  Terminations have traditionally occurred through buyouts, consolidations or natural attrition. I have participated in many. Now, of course, they have accelerated with bankruptcy, but when I learned of GM’s intended termination for this PARTICULAR store, I was quite frankly shocked.  I cannot imagine what—if any—objective criteria were used.

I will not get into the merits and standing of Fred Beans in the industry and community. That is all a matter of record. What I will say is if this specific dealership—and investment—and dealer do not represent what should make up the “New GM,” then I do not know what would.

As a business associate and friend of Fred Beans, I am saddened. As an industry professional with some experience in these matters, I am dumbfounded. As a taxpayer and now (without my consent) an equity-holder of the New GM, I am deeply troubled.

Very truly yours,