I don’t write a lot when a business closes. I should more often. But this one got my attention. Saturn of Des Moines is shutting its doors today. Maybe, that seems like a no-brainer, since General Motors had already bailed on Saturn as it received its taxpayer-backed bailout. And that lead to the death of Saturn, when race car driver Roger Penske’s group chose not to buy it. I bought my Saturn View from Saturn of Des Moines in October of 2008. I have had a few minor issues with it. But the service at that place has been amazing. My sales guy, Larry, is quite a character. And I mean that in a good way. He’s a retired restaurant guy, who sold cars to keep himself “out of trouble with the Mrs.” Larry is always great for a cup of coffee, conversation and a few clues about life. Mike, the guy who handles your complaints and questions when you walk in, couldn’t be much nicer. He always made sure my truck got whatever fixed that needed to be fixed. He also made sure to give me a free loaner car when my truck needed fixes that took more than the afternoon. He even helped us when they hosted their once-monthly sessions with nurses from Blank Children’s Hospital and the Urbandale police and fire to show us new parents (or parents-to-be) how to properly strap in those confusing car seats. And they really showed us how to make sure those suckers don’t move around!
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The employees there went through so many ups and down as they waited for the Penskes or anyone else to buy the Saturn company. Then, they waited through endless possibilities (while they sold off their remaining new Saturns and started focusing on selling used Saturns) of new dealerships, both foreign and domestic. I’m sure it was agonizing for them all. Today’s news offers them the final dose of disappointment that nothing could be worked out. I hope the other dealers around here can find room for these people. They deserve a new opportunity. Those dealers can only hope they are good enough to deserve these good people.