Thursday, May 24, 2012

Last Day on Arsenal Street

While I can, and I have, rationalized that the relocation of Charles River Saab is a necessary and ultimately positive event, I cannot help but be a wistful as I sit here on our last working day at Charles River Saab in Watertown. Beyond a successful transition of the business to 75 North Beacon Street in Boston, my greatest anxiety has been about the employees who were not slated to go with us, for while we intended to bring over technicians, parts and service advisors and the remaining sales staff, there were a number of support people here who did not necessarily have an assurance of continued employment. Happily, I can say that EVERYONE here has a place to go next week, and all within the Village Auto Group.

In recent weeks, as the parking lot and showroom have gone empty, the reality of this inevitable move hit home. Further, as we started to pack, much as when one packs up a home to move, we’ve come across stuff we’ve forgotten which invariable triggers a memory of days gone by. There have been lots of them—both days, and memories. By my calculation, I have worked here 5,565 days, so about 55,000 hours. That’s a lot of hours. That’s a lot of hours in one building. No wonder I have so many memories that keep flooding back into my consciousness.

As was evident at our farewell-to-Arsenal-Street party last weekend, what has meant the most here isn’t the real-estate or the brand, it’s been the people, and the affinity that Charles River Saab employees have had for one another and the company throughout the years. There were employees at that party who started working here in the 1970s, and every decade since was richly represented. We’ve always been a company full of characters, always colorful, often passionate, and never boring. When Robin DeMaso addressed the assembled on Saturday, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. I don’t imagine that there are too many businesses where so many alumni would get back together like that for one more chance to reunite, to remember, to laugh, and to cry (just a little).

There will be lots of lasts today—last customer, last part handed out, last phone call taken, last email to go out. Now that I’m old and wizened, I don’t bother much with sentimentality, but today—just today—I will allow myself a bit of it. Tomorrow, though, it’s back to work: onward and upward!

Below are some pictures from the farewell party.

 Many of the assembled prefered to stay around by the shop.
 Group photo in front of the wedge.
 Robin's speach had everyone teary-eyed, even Jim.
 Robin and Felix.
 Monica and Wes
 Closeup of the group photo
1980's crew: Peter, Alex, Robin and Doug

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