The Shipyard Brewing – Cold Brook Saab Partnership

Posted on 23. Nov, 2009 by in 2000-2009, Dealerships

Film Credit: Saab History

Saab History has been listening and learning about the significant impact that was made to Saab dealerships here in the United States over the past week. That impact involves 37% of 218 Saab dealerships in the United States or 81 individual retailers that are expected to terminate their agreements by the time the sale is completed, targeted for November 30th, 2009.

Here in the state of Maine, all but a few of these dealerships have received termination letters and as a result, there has been a huge impact to the local economy with customers and local businesses alike.

An example of this is Cold Brook Saab located in Skowhegan, Maine. Cold Brook Saab has been an exclusive Saab dealer for over 46 years and enjoys a strong customer following and has thrived despite tough times in the auto industry. Cold Brook Saab owner Joey Joseph credits innovative marketing through cross marketing opportunities that have evolved over the last 15 years. “We started establishing our cross marketing campaign with a sponsorship at Sugarloaf Ski Resort and have since forged alliances with Sunday River Ski and Golf Resort and Shipyard Brewery in Portland.”

An example of how this action by GM/SAAB to close the Maine Saab dealer network down can be seen by the dissolution of the long term partnerships. I had the pleasure of meeting the folks over at Shipyard Brewery and discussed what the demise of Cold Brooks Saab franchise might mean to their corporate fleet car of choice.

The current fleet that the company uses includes Saab 9-3 SportCombi’s, 9-5 SportCombi’s as well as 9-7xs. These vehicles initially began as transportation vehicles for upper management serving as premium transportation for executives that promote a premium product as a corporate benefit, much like what has been done at nearby Sunday River ski and golf resort who has many top executives driving Saabs from Cold Brook Saab also.

Today, the Saab vehicles have been handed down within the company to all levels and now support marketing and other critical functions to the company. For over a decade Cold Brook Saab has provided over 20 Saab vehicles to Shipyard Brewery and as a result, they have enjoyed every minute
of it.

If this particular dealership ends up being terminated at the end of the month or when the sale of Saab is completed, the direct result will inevitably be that Shipyard Brewery will no longer be using Saabs as their fleet vehicles in the future.

The message here is that the dealerships and and their customers are inextricably linked through relationships. If a Saab dealer cannot offer Saabs any longer, their customers have no real incentive to go out of their way to find another Saab dealer to continue their ownership because that relationship began with the dealer, not the Saab product.

A special thanks to those at both Shipyard Brewery as well as Cold Brook Saab for the opportunity to realize the local impact in Maine to the immediate situation with Saab dealerships in the United States.

Shipyard Brewery
86 Newbury Street
Portland, ME 04101

Cold Brook Saab
337 Madison Ave
Skowhegan, ME 04976

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No Responses to “The Shipyard Brewing – Cold Brook Saab Partnership”

  1. Curt

    23. Nov, 2009

    I echo Bruce’s sentiment. Let’s face it, too many car dealers have made purchasing & servicing an automobile a guarded, unpleasant experience. But Joey Joseph, along with Rick and the entire staff at Coldbrook Saab are the complete antithesis of that idea. I challenge any dealer, Saab or other, to try to compete with the level of service, customer loyalty and commitment to the brand that Coldbrook Saab always delivers!

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  2. phil castleman

    23. Nov, 2009

    It has been my pleasure as well as other members of by family to have purchased Saabs from Joey Joseph. His dealership has set a standard of service that other dealers should try and emulate. In 60 years of buying automobiles in various New England states and Florida I have never had another dealership reach the high marks of Coldbrook Saab. The closing of this dealership runs counter to the stated objectives of the “new Saab” to recapture their luxury automobile business when Coldbrook treated every customer as a luxury car buyer who deserved the highest level of care and service available at very few “luxury car dealerships”.

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  3. Fred Johnson

    23. Nov, 2009

    This interview shows the importance of the relationship between the consumer and the dealership such as Cold Brook Saab. It shows from the customers side how they feel about the product and advise given to a customer before, during and after the sale.

    The small dealers is the real entrepreneur in these times as he has to be an inovator, adviser, marketer, consultant and friend to the consumer while dealing with higher operating cost, high interest rates, high gas prices, lower profit margins, increased competition due to the internet and increased customers knowledge as to costs and values. Most individuals would not own a dealership if they knew what the profitability margin was – a saving account pays a higher rate.

    Dealership such as Cold Brook Saab have always been the connecting point between the consumer and the manufacturer. Without this, the consumer looses faith in the product and looks for someone else to supply their needs. Saab has always been a niche market where the customer knows almost as much as the sales, service and parts departments. they usually go into a dealership knowing exactly which of the vehicles the want to purchase – leaving only color and interior choices to be made.

    Saab N.A needs to reassess the closure of Cold Brook Saab and all the other Saab dealers in North America if they hope to retain any type of customer base – Saab owners are very loyal of the car but more important the dealership they due business with. They are not buying a box at Wal-mart but a luxury vehicle for Saab and more important, Cold Brook Saab and their employees.

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  4. Dave

    23. Nov, 2009

    As a former sales person for the Shipyard Brewing Company, I am aware of the value of customer perception. The Shipyard brand is associated with quality craftsmanship as is Saab’s. The customer perception of the association of these two brands is valuable to both Shipyard and Saab. It would be a shame if the Shipyard customer base felt there was an issue with the Saab brand because the brewery was forced to build another relationship with another brand i.e. BMW, because Cold Brook was not able to represent Saab in the future.

    Because of my employment with Shipyard I was introduced to Saab. I have since moved on from my position with Shipyard but have maintained my loyalty to Saab because of the exceptional customer service that Joey Joseph and his team at Cold Brook Saab have provided over the years.

    Over the last 10 years my wife and I have purchased 5 Saabs from Joey (three 9-3’s, a 9-5 and a 9-7x). I have affection with the Saab brand but more importantly Cold Brook Saab. I am not sure if my next car will be a Saab, but what I do know is it will be from Joey’s dealership.

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  5. Clint Edwards

    23. Nov, 2009

    I just heard about Cold Brook Saab being terminated I can’t believe it. I was in Maine on vacation 2 years ago and I was having a problem with my Saab, it losing power. I took my car to the Saab dealership in Portland, they diagnosed the problem, said they fixed it and I went on my way. I was driving a couple of hours north (Maine is huge!) and my car was doing the same thing as it was in Portland. I stopped in Bangor and saw someone driving a Saab at a gas station. I stopped and asked him where to get my Saab fixed, and he sent me to Cold Brook Saab in Skowhegan. I went over and within 10 minutes of my arrival they had my car fixed. It even came out of their shop fixed and it was even washed and vacuumed. While I waited for my car to be fixed the owner Joey Joseph came out and introduced himself and asked if there was anything he could do for me while I waited. He told me of the New Balance Shoe factory outlet in Skowhegan, gave me his car to go over and I got some great new running shoes at a very fair price. I am going to Maine again next year and was planning on going to Skowhegan again (to get another pair of New Balance running shoes) and trade my 2006 Saab for a new one at Cold Brook Saab. Now maybe I’ll just get the shoes and an Audi

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  6. Melissa Quigley

    23. Nov, 2009

    I have only been driving Saabs since the late 90s; however my family has been driving them since 1962. I can remember my grandfather telling me stories about having to mix the oil and gas together. Our family has always done business with Cold Brook Saab, and always will. I remember Mr. Holden, the previous owner, and now the current Mr. Joseph. Both of these men care about their local area and their costumers. Cold Brook Saab and their staff have been providing a great Saab experience to us during our 50 years of Saab driving. I cannot see myself driving anything but a Saab. I encourage you to look at the performance that Cold Brook Saab has done as an exclusive Saab dealer. If they are no longer affiliated with Saab I will have to reevaluate what I drive, which is too bad because I really want a new 9-5! I cannot imagine driving in another type of car but if Cold Brook is no longer able to sell and service Saabs then I will switch to an Audi. Cold Brook Saab is the place to buy and service your Saabs!!

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  7. Bo

    24. Nov, 2009

    I just started using this dealer for service, I had been going to the dealer in Augusta who had a hard time doing most anything right. I have been driving Saabs all my adult life, and will continue if the dealers are like these guys in Skowhegan, their service was really good. They even washed and vacuumed my car before giving it back to me. Doesn’t make sense to me why they wouldn’t continue with Saab, they had probably the best selection of Saabs that I have seen in a very long time. Wake up Saab, keep the good Saab dealers who support you.

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  8. EQ

    24. Nov, 2009

    I drink Shipyard beer and drive a Saab. Actually I enjoyed a Shipyard in Stockholm during my last business trip there. I was surprised to see so few Saabs in Stockholm, I think there are more on the streets in Maine per capita than in Stockholm. I can’t in my wildest imagination understand how Saab could cut out the face of Saab in Maine by dismissing Cold Brook Saab, their cars are everywhere and their reputation is great. I’d recommend to Cold Brook Saab to call our US Senators and Congressmen, after all Saab is owned by GM and the US gov’t owns GM. Unfortunately.

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  9. Rick

    24. Nov, 2009

    Before buying a Saab from Joey I hadn’t been to a car dealer in years. Why, because the car buying experience I had at the previous 3 dealers was beyond distasteful. Something to be avoided if at all possible.

    Joey changed the way cars are bought. Saab is NUTS to give up this representation.

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  10. Rick Smith

    24. Nov, 2009

    Shock, that is what I would have to say after hearing from my good friend and Saab dealer Joey Joseph today. And then I became so disappointed that I knew that I had to take my new 9-7 clear to Portland to be serviced. It won’t happen!!! I will more than likely end up with a Lexus when I trade next year, not the quality of a Saab and definitely will not get the great service we have experienced over the last 20 years with our great friends at Coldbrook Saab. Why does this have to happen to such a great dealer who is so focused on his customers and the great service they all provide.

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  11. pete

    24. Nov, 2009

    I have been away and just called Cold Brook to schedule my prepaid maintenance for my 2009 Saab that I bought from Cold Brook. Rick Cook, apologized as he told me for them to do the job I had to come in right away. He told me that they were scheduling appointments after regular hours to facilitate Cold Brook ‘regulars” (like me :+) so that we would not have to go to a dealer whom we had no relationship with until the end had come for Cold Brook as far as warranty work applied. He told me that Joey had no intention of closing regardless of the final decision by GM/Saab, but would not be able to do warranty work after termination. What a sad state of affairs, I will change brands there are plenty of good cars in the market and no so many good dealers. I have done business with other Saab dealers in Maine before finding Cold Brook and I am here for a reason. Saab is nuts, and will lose the best representative of their brand in Maine and lose my business. Best of luck to my friends at Cold Brook I know Joey will lead you out of this darkness!!!

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  12. Shocked

    24. Nov, 2009

    This article is a wake up call for myself and I am sure many Saab owners in the state of Maine. I have driven Saabs for over 15 years and I live in southern Maine. If Saab Cars North America really looks at what this dealer has done for the Saab brand, I am sure they will or should reconsider their decision for terminating this location. I have been using this dealer for every purchase, service and even “on the road” advice for all of my years of Saab ownership. It has been more than worth my while driving the extra distance to receive their excellent service. They even meet me halfway and provide me with a vehicle to use for the time needed for service. Regardless of what Saab offers in the future, I would never own another one unless I can continue getting the great continued warranty and routine service from Cold Brook.


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  13. Mark Nale

    24. Nov, 2009

    I am shocked at the poor business decision of Saab/GM to terminate Cold Brook Saab as a franchisee. Being a customer of Cold Brook’s for the past 20 years, I can speak for the top-notch service and professionalism they put into that dealership everyday. They are a customer oriented business and that attitude carries down from the owner, Joey Joseph, to all of his employees.

    All it takes to see the success of this business is to look at the number of Cold Brook cars on the roads of Central Maine and beyond. That success doesn’t happen by accident; it takes a committed dealer, one who is committed to his brand and to the customers he serves.

    What is wrong with these corporated decision-makers? Are they so detatched from reality they can’t see a good thing in front of them? I challenge them to step up to the plate and re-visit this poor decision. The people of Central Maine have been loyal Saab drivers for many years and it’s time you show us some loyalty and reverse this bad decision.

    Mark Nale

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  14. Snaaby1

    24. Nov, 2009

    Speechless, to say the least! What are you thinking GM/Saab? Better yet, what did you base this corporate business decision on to terminate a successful dealership like Cold Brook Saab? Did you just pull names out of a hat? Clearly it was not based on the success, profitability or the marketing abilities of Cold Brook Saab for the Saab brand and it’s vast list of loyal following customer base or the executives (if you can call yourselves that) involved in this decision would have made a much wiser corprate business decision not to terminate a dealership like Cold Brook Saab. Not a good way to start off with Saab Koenigsegg or to keep and maintain the loyal Saab customers of Cold Brook Saab or the Saab brand. You need to take serious look at the decision to terminate Cold Brook Saab and come back with a decision that is in your best interest and keep Cold Brook Saab. You want to sell Saab’s in Maine?…Cold Brook Saab is Maine!!!

    I have been one of those proud, loyal Saab driving customer’s for years and would love to continue to be…I love my Saab’s! My relationship with Cold Brook Saab began in 1988 when Joey Joseph purchased the dealership, I would not think of doing business any place else…I may not own another Saab, but I will own another vehicle from Cold Brook. They sell and provide exceptional service, as well as wonderful customer service. My Saab is always washed and vacuumed and returned to me looking like new. Joey Joseph and his staff go above and beyond what other dealers do to provide for their customers. It would be an absolute shame for Cold Brook Saab not to be able to continue to provide this for it’s loyal Saab customer’s what it has for decades. GM/Saab/Koenigsegg, maybe you should take a lesson in loyality from Cold Brook Saab so this great legacy will continue???

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  15. Alicia

    24. Nov, 2009

    I have been following GM in the news since the story of their bankruptcy broke hoping that this would not affect my loyal dealings with Cold Brook Saab. As a Massachusetts resident unsatisfied with the offering locally, I have always opted to make the trip to Skowhegan to pursue any dealings with Saab. This effort is a credit to the staff at Cold Brook Saab and should not go unmentioned. It is a shame that GM would opt to shut down a dealership know for their dedication to service and fantastic customer relations. Any good businessperson should know that the people who deal with your consumers are an extension of your brand and it is built largely in part on the reputation of Joey Joseph and the staff at Cold Brook Saab that Saab has enjoyed such loyal following in Maine. A brand in trouble should consider carefully the impact of alienating their customer base before making hasty decisions such as this one.

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  16. Brian

    27. Nov, 2009

    Unbelievable that GM/Saab would even consider terminating such an outstanding dealership. Joey, Rick, Dale and the rest of the staff have, and will, always go way above and beyond what any other dealership would consider outstanding customer service. I have been an extremely happy Cold Brook Saab customer for almost 17 years now. If GM/Saab terminates this dealership it will be a huge loss for them. The incredible service that Cold Brook has always provided keeps their customers coming back. If the franchise is terminated, I, among most of their customers will forget brand loyalty to be able to continue to do business with Joey and his crew. I have never, nor will I ever, seen a dealership that is of the same caliber of Cold Brook Saab.

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  17. Ryan

    30. Nov, 2009

    Thank you to everyone who have expressed your thoughts about Cold Brook Saab.

    With the Koenigsegg-Saab agreement now no longer in play as of last week, Cold Brook Saab should have another month of breathing room as a result.

    That being said, this Tuesday, December 1st, GM will be meeting with their board to decide the future of Saab Automobile.

    Saab Automobile’s Management, delegates from the Swedish Government will all be in Detroit this Monday to meet with GM prior to this decision the following day.

    Let’s all hope for the best outcomes.



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  18. Ryan

    06. Mar, 2010

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