Hanging out with State of Nine

I’m fortunate to have a group of great, long-term sponsors with this website. They’ve all been with me for a number of years now, which is a great show of support and more importantly, a show of their commitment to Saab and the people who drive them.

It’s a double-blessing for me when I get to visit them and meet them in person. Such was the case back at Swedish Car Day, when I got to meet Dan De Vlieger from State of Nine and spend a bit of time getting to know him and his business.

Dan at SOC 2010 Dan sweating it out at SOC 2010 (photo by Eggs).

For those who are unfamiliar with State of Nine, it’s a small business run by Dan out of his base in Boston, MA. SoN specialises in supplying aftermarket accessories specifically tailored to be two things – (1) perfect for the Saab model they’re designed for, and (2) the best products in the field.

On a personal level, Dan is one of the most pleasant blokes you’d ever meet. We had a couple of lunches together, along with Pierre from Charles River Saab, and had a great time getting to know one another.

Dan is in his late 30s. He lives in Boston with his wife and two young children and maintains his SoN office as a single-room sublet in a grand old house that once hosted some of Boston’s social elite, with rooms in the house now converted into individual offices. Dan has a beautiful Saab 900 convertible that doubles not only as magnificent transport, but also as a test rig for many of the products he sells.

DanD Saab 900The SoN warehouse is located about an hour or so out of town, maintained as part of a larger logistics operation. When you place an order at SoN’s website, it’s sent to Dan. He checks it and sends it on to the warehouse, where the goods are selected from stock, carefully packaged and prepared for postage.

I think what impressed me most about meeting Dan and getting to know SoN’s operations was the sheer commitment that it takes to do what he does. He sells great stuff and asks a higher price than some people expect for it. He’s taken a bit of flack for that from some people, but when all’s said and done, he knows two things.

First, his business does supply the best products he can get his hands on. Whether it be wind-screens for convertibles, rubber mats for those northern winters or the best Saab clothing, his stuff is specifically sourced because it’s premium quality. I got one of his Classic White Saab Lands’ End Dress Shirts and it’s without doubt, the most comfortable shirt I own.

SoN warehouseSecond, if Dan’s going to keep serving his client base and feeding his young family, he’s got to stay in business. That means he has to earn a living. To do that, he needs to sell the best stuff he can find, which is exactly what he does.

Like his customers, Dan’s a Saab enthusiast who happens to also make a living serving the needs of other Saab enthusiasts. Thankfully, there’s enough people out there, especially in the north-eastern US, who agree with him when it comes to providing the best Saab official and aftermarket accessories you can find.

I’m proud to call Dan a friend, and especially grateful that State of Nine is a long term Saabs United supporter and sponsor.

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