Belleville car dealership succumbs to credit crisis

A family owned car dealership in Belleville has closed up shop 66 years to the day after opening.

Bigelow Motors, founded in 1942, is one of the latest New Jersey businesses to fall victim to the sinking economy. Owner Frank Pfeffer says his dealership was able to weather the storm through wars and gas shortages until now.

"We were always able to recover until this particular period arrived," says Pfeffer.

On Pfeffer's 92nd birthday, Capital One sent a letter to the business saying it had to pay back money on the cars the bank had financed them. That bill ran more than $5 million.

"The only way we could comply with the request was to terminate our franchise, which would obligate Chrysler to buy the cars and pay the money that was borrowed against them," says Pfeffer.

Several workers are remaining in the parts shop and dealership to tie up Bigelow's loose ends. Despite all that's happened, Pfeffer says he doesn't blame the banks or anyone else.

"I quite understand," he says. "I mean it's regrettable but I don't blame them."

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