Meet the Owner:
Not many people can say they’ve made 82nd Avenue home for more than three decades. Garry Small can; he’s owned and operated the iconic Saab dealership at 1940 SE 82nd Avenue for more than 31 years. Since 1986 Garry Small has sold Saabs, both new and used, to the masses. And he’s taken pride in the loyal customer base he’s built.
Now mostly dealing used cars, Saabs are still his specialty. And Mr. Small has even expanded his repertoire and embraced Portland’s bike culture by offering Saab’s version of the electric bicycle. The ELF, as they are called, are operated by pedal and solar-powered batteries. With covering to protect you from the elements, as well as an electrical plug for charging, the ELF is a pretty versatile vehicle and can be rode in Portland’s expansive network of bike lanes.
While Garry Small is embracing varying modes of transportation, he’s also embraced the changing landscape along SE 82nd Avenue. Here’s what Garry had to say about doing business on 82nd over the years:
How has 82nd Avenue changed since you’ve been in business? “It’s changed a lot. There used to be a handyman store where PCC is now. It used to be pretty run down. It’s improved a lot with the shopping centers and restaurants.”
What has made Garry Small Saab so successful over the years? “We take pride in the work we do. We’re selling our name and brand along with the cars. We’re not just a ‘fluff and buff,’ then re-sell the cars; we actually get them to as close to new as possible. We’ve built a strong customer base because of it. We have customers that drive from Seattle, Bend, Medford and even San Diego to buy our cars. We love our customers and get a lot of referrals and repeat business. We also take care of our property, clean up and make it look nice.
What makes you optimistic about 82nd Avenue?A lot of dealers are taking care of their properties. There are a lot of improvements and new things happening in the neighborhood. If the state just repaved 82nd, we’d be fine and dandy.”
When you’re not working, what businesses do you like to support in the neighborhood? I like Burgerville and Elmers. I do lunch at Pho Van. All the workers support the local restaurants on their lunch breaks.”
We appreciate Garry taking the time to sit down with us. And we’re grateful for all he’s done for SE 82nd Avenue over the years. You can visit Garry Small Saab online or at 1940 SE 82nd Avenue.