Well, it finally happened. Actually, it happened six months ago, but it became clearly over just recently. Strieter Lincoln had been a Quad City area staple, in business for decades. In addition to Lincoln-Mercury, they also sold and serviced Saabs until around 2000-2001. I first started doing business with them around ten years ago, when I bought my first Town Car–from the local Cadillac-Volvo dealer.
Later on, I bought Town Car #2, an Autumn Red 2004 Ultimate affectionately nicknamed “Big Rhonda” from my pal Peter Clarke, who had been there for years. I’d stop in frequently and we’d chew the fat, discussing The Cellar, a supper club we both were fond of, and cars, and all sorts of things. It was that kind of place. He naturally also had a Town Car–a White Chocolate Tricoat 2007 Designer that was even nicer than my ’04.
Service too, was great. Ron Erickson, the service manager, was a pro, pleasant and we’d frequently chat about his green ’90s Corvette when I’d drop my car off for service. Justin was also a great guy. He had a bright chrome yellow circa 2002 Wrangler that he kept immaculate. These folks knew their stuff, and went above and beyond for their customers. They were a credit to their dealership.
And then it all ended. A friend of mine from high school, Pete Peterson, messaged me that the company he works for got a “thanks for all your service but we’re closing permanently” letter from Strieter. Apparently they sent it out to all the vendors they did business with. I immediately texted Peter, who confirmed it. “Strieters is no more, sad week for us. They sold the place to some people from out of town.”
Uh oh. Out of towners. As it turned out, my car had been in for service the last day Strieter existed. They had said they couldn’t get me a loaner that day, but could give me a ride to the office and pick me up later. I said no problem. After the fact, I realized it must have been due to the floor plan financing changing hands. Everything was changing over that day, I just wasn’t aware of it.
Well, six months passed before I needed to take the car in. During all that time, I thought, hoped, maybe they’ll be OK. Maybe there won’t be a problem. But I already knew they’d laid off most of the staff. I had stopped in in March or so and Peter and basically everyone else I knew was gone and replaced with strangers. Down to the receptionist.
Then a couple weeks ago I dropped the car off, and again, hoped for the best. It was…not great. There was clearly a lot of flailing around, and now that I was in the service area I realized they’d chopped/replaced 90% of the service staff too. The only people I recognized was one mechanic, and the guy who dropped me off at work. We had a long conversation about all that had happened there the last six months.
And while I’d prefer not to go into specifics, I’m done with them. The staff at Strieter were terrific, professional people. They knew what they were doing and proud of their dealership. Strieter won the Ford Motor Company President’s award several years, and earned it. It was a pleasure doing business with them.
And now it’s over. Fortunately the local Ford dealer is an old friend of mine, and my cars will be going there from now on! When I called him to see if that was feasible, he said sure! He also related they are getting new Lincoln customers every week due to their experience with “the new guys.”
It’s a shame. I was close with so many folks there, I liked seeing them, visiting them, spending my money there. And now it’s all gone. Strieter is dead. Long live Strieter, and the fine folks who worked there! I’ll always have good memories of the place. It’s almost like losing a friend.
Some Strieter-related columns: