The owner of the Howard Cooper Import Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan recently sold his 47-year-old dealership to a new company, but before he did, he took the time to say thanks to his employees. How? Everyone on staff received $1,000 for each year that they'd worked for the company.
Howard Cooper, now 83 years old, handed out checks to each of his 89 employees. One worker, who drove the company parts van, received $28,000 for his loyalty, while mechanic Bob Jenkins went home with a $26,000 check. He says his money is going into the bank to be put towards his children's future.

Cooper, meanwhile, said that he hoped the money would make a difference in his employees' lives. He opened shop in 1965, and at first, his lot only sold Volkswagen products. Eventually, he added Porsche and Audi vehicles to the mix, as well as Honda models. He sold the dealership to Germain Motor Company in April, but made sure employee retention was in the contract before he signed he deal.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 57 Comments
      _I_I_II_I_I_
      • 2 Years Ago
      jeez guys, does everything have to become a divisive political rant? This gentleman led a successful business and clearly understood the value of the team that created that success with him. He's a class act and a smart businessman imho. Nothing needs to be projected onto party politics.
        StephenT
        • 2 Years Ago
        @_I_I_II_I_I_
        I'm afraid it does and it's such a shame. Virtually any article anywhere regardless of what the subject is soon falls into the left and right trying to tear each other to pieces. The other sad thing is that it doesn't end after elections. It just goes on 24/7 365 days a year.
          S.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @StephenT
          It honestly seems like some people are completely obsessed with bringing their political rants into every medium. As in i worry about their mental state if that's the only way they see the world.
      AntBee
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love it when an employer looks after his people, and to top it off, made sure they would keep their jobs! Good on Howard Cooper!
      Steve
      • 2 Years Ago
      Way to go. That's how it should be done. Congrats to his employees and applause to their old boss!!!
      John Cocktoastin
      • 2 Years Ago
      Impressive Mr. Cooper! Bravo. I suspect this kind of generosity is very uncommon in the world of auto dealers. However I did work for a gentlemen (Dick Strauss Ford) who gave a then brand new 1996 Ford F-150 to an employee who was retiring after a whopping 57 years of service.
      DamCharger
      • 2 Years Ago
      I work right next to this dealership and will probably take a look at cars on the lot next time I am in the market for one just because of this story. Truely a class act by the owner.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DamCharger
        [blocked]
          SAAj
          • 2 Years Ago
          Disclaimer: I'm an independent voter. I have voted for both Republicans and Democrats in the past. It's not that all Republicans (or even most Republicans) hate the idea of charity. Many of them just don't believe the government is using their tax dollars efficiently. If I had, let's say, 10 million dollars that I wanted to give away, I'd rather have it go to carefully researched and selected organizations of my choice than to the government, who will spend it in opaque and inefficient ways, with God knows how much being lost to corruption. So it's not a matter of whether or not people are charitable so much as how much control they want over where their money goes. Of course, there are going to be people who don't give to charities and similar organizations, but by no means does this represent the entire Republican party, or even a substantial portion of it. Many Republicans donate large sums through their churches, for example; large churches like Joel Olsteen's Lakewood Church in Houston could probably fund small countries.
          sksnyder25
          • 2 Years Ago
          Every Republican would boo this story. They don't believe in sharing the wealth and condemn Obama every time he tries to make the lives of the middle class or low income better.
          jmy274
          • 2 Years Ago
          You're wrong. This is the kind of behavior the GOP loves. A hard working business owner who appreciates and rewards his employees for their years of loyalty and service. The democrat way would be to tax the hard working business owner and all his hard working employees into oblivion, and then take the money and give it to a bunch of people on welfare who did absolutely nothing to earn it. Obviously not every democrat thinks like that, and unfortunately not every republican or business owner thinks like this guy. However, I think this story (regardless of whether the business owner is dem or rep) illustrates that those who earn the money should have the right to distribute it as they see fit, we don't need to government to do it for them. I think it also serves as a model for the employees that loyalty and dedication to your work can be rewarded; as opposed to the government mentality of taking from the people who work the hardest, and rewarding the people who work the least or not at all (and I fully realize that is not the case with everyone, especially in this economy, but it is a real issue and needs to be addressed). The government can only give to one person what it first took from someone else. This gentleman took what was his and gave it to those he felt earned it. Clearly a better way for all.
          graphikzking
          • 2 Years Ago
          I'm republican and I don't hate giving back. I would just rather give back to those that have helped me over the years and those that are close to me first. I do hate giving to causes I don't approve of - billions in aid to Pakistan? WTF - we need aid here. 1. High number of deficient bridges throughout the country. 2. Roads are in bad shape 3. Social Security System that is in the red and getting into trouble. 4. Federal pension system that is nearing it's limits. 5. Postal Service that is in default. 6. Largest debt by any country in the history of mankind and it's getting larger each and everyday. Yet the government wants to spend more money, tax more etc. FIX THE ISSUE. The issue isn't to tax more - it's to streamline it. I don't know of a single person in a government job that doesn't think it's crazy how they spend money and how inefficient they are with their funds. My friend is a Mayor in a small town - said they they receive State and Federal funds each year to fix their lights, etc. He said that they saved about $18,000 one year and the following year they were given $18,000 less. So then he spent about $16,000 and returned the other 2k. The following year they only gave him $16,000. So then the next year he called them and said he needed 19k - they say - NOPE - you got away with 16 and you will have to keep using that. Point is - if you don't "use it" you lose it - you don't get rewarded for saving funds - you get penalized. So other districts he stated are using the max each year and each year it increases a little bit. So they get more money while he gets lets for being efficient. 1 More fact for the people attacking only Republicans - (it's not a party issue they both have crooks and good people) - Obama - law school / Biden - law school / Pelosi - Law school / Bill & Hillary Clinton - law school Every democratic President and Vice Presidenial candidate in the last 20 years has all been an Attorney or a law school graduate. Everyone know attorneys are great at spinning things and making the simplest things confusing and show doubt. So stop believing everything you hear (from BOTH parties).
          Bob Jackson
          • 2 Years Ago
          Great, another tool who has to see politics in every aspect of his pathetic life. OK, we get it, you like Obama and Howard Cooper should have done it the Obama way by telling these little workers they did not build Howard Cooper Import Center so he could give that money to those who support him. Your Democrat way of thinking is that the workers should have just stayed at home and got the government to take care of them. Far easier than working for 26 or 28 years when they could have had the Democrats take care of their every need, right? After all, only rich white people buy Porsche's and who wants to work with a bunch of rich white people? Fight the power!
          BLSully
          • 2 Years Ago
          Thanks for turning this into a political argument. FWIW, Bonuses to loyal (and presumably hard working employees) is a lot different than handing out welfare checks to crack-****** with 10 kids because they've figured out how to game the system. The first deserves it (at the employer's discretion), the 2nd need to get clean and go find a job. Blanket statements like yours make it clear you either don't want to think about reality, or just don't get it.
      telm12345
      • 2 Years Ago
      That's fantastic. Congrats to Cooper for being a model of management and capitalism.
      Dvanos
      • 2 Years Ago
      This guy deserves a Nobel Peace Prize or something, too bad other companies won't learn from this.
      Doug Utz
      • 2 Years Ago
      As a VW owner and service customer at Howard Coopers, I have to say kudos to Mr. Cooper for his generous act. He's ran a stand up dealership over the years and I hope the new owners (Germain Auto Group out of Columbus) continue the high level of service the dealership is known for.
      zoom_zoom_zoom
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well Howard Cooper is not following the Obama business model. Obama would forcibly TAKE that money and redistribute.
        thequebecerinfrance
        • 2 Years Ago
        @zoom_zoom_zoom
        Actually it's Romney that would tax it as he will make the middle class pay more. He would then redistribute to his firends, oops, the rich so they would pay less taxes.
          Sean Conrad
          • 2 Years Ago
          @thequebecerinfrance
          This is factually true.
          Bob Jackson
          • 2 Years Ago
          @thequebecerinfrance
          I guess you never heard of GM or Solyndra? Besides, like Obama you know Cooper didn't build his business. The government built that business. Heck, Cooper employee's should be thanking Obama for the money they got, it only was possible because of Obama.
        KaiserWilhelm
        • 2 Years Ago
        @zoom_zoom_zoom
        You mean with the taxes that are at one of the lowest rates in US history?
        reattadudes
        • 2 Years Ago
        @zoom_zoom_zoom
        I was a Dodge dealer in California for ten years. the city my dealership was located in planned on taking several blocks for a park, with my block included. due to the close proximity to other Dodge dealers, there was no place to move, and Chrysler offered to buy back the point from me. before I would even sign the papers, I made sure EVERY employee who wasn't retiring was placed at another dealership. that included everyone from the service manager to the lot boys, to the janitor. everyone. this article brought a smile to my face, because I did exactly the same thing with regard to the $1,000 per year bonus. since I had only owned the dealership for ten years (1983-1993) I made the bonus retroactive to the time before I owned the dealership, to make it truly fair to everyone. blame that on my caring, fair, and bleeding-liberal heart. none of my employees knew about the bonuses. I had a farewell dinner at a local hotel; everyone was absolutely shocked, to say the least, when those checks started being given away. the two longest serving employees got a special bonus, too. one of the technicians had been there 30 years; he received $30,000, plus a new Cummins diesel 4X4 pickup. the office manager had been there 37 years; I special-ordered her a loaded Dynasty to replace her brown 1977 Dodge Aspen sedan. that was in addition to their $30,000 and $37,000 checks. I gave away more than 1/3 of the money I received from my Chrysler buyout, and it felt truly great. and how would a Republican do it? I'll let you know from personal experience; I've seen enough of them do it. they come back to the dealership at midnight, and change the locks. they put "closed" signs in the windows. they come back in the morning, park around the corner, and laugh hysterically at the shocked faces of the employees when they try to open the door. that's the difference between Democrats and Republicans. the success if my business was 100% the result of my employees and their hard work. when I took over the dealership in 1983, it was selling a whopping 12 cars (both new and used) per month. ten years later, we were selling 120 cars per month. Republicans take the opposite approach; I know, because 96% of all dealerships are owned by Republicans. their attitude is everyone is expendable. threaten to fire everybody, and call this "employee motivation". at the monthly sales meeting, fire the two salesmen that had the fewest sales. scare the hell out of everyone. give no bonuses that are deserved, and take away benefits. hire new employees for far less than the ones they are replacing. ...and all the while, laugh hysterically at how you're taking advantage of them, and how much money you're making.
        graphikzking
        • 2 Years Ago
        @zoom_zoom_zoom
        That's not the Dealership Owners money to give away! "Someone gave him that, someone made that happen for him" -Barack Obama. Sorry - I had to get in on the fun. lmao. It's funny. Rich guy realized who helped to make his business and wanted to thank them. There are plenty of employers that do that same thing. It's a great deed to do and not enough people vote with their wallet to thank people like this. Instead they buy "apple" products - where they want to lay off retail workers to try to make more profit. Then when they realize the publicity - they backtrack but people still continue to buy them and drive up the stock price.
        sensibility2
        • 2 Years Ago
        @zoom_zoom_zoom
        Your ignorance is getting the best of you. I would have suggested for you to think about it but I don't think your brain can handle it.
      gop.hates.america
      • 2 Years Ago
      This guy is such a socialist. Ir Romney was running this dealership, he would have fired those people, withheld any unpaid hours, stolen their pensions, and stiffed the creditors
      Luc Helterbrand
      • 2 Years Ago
      Clearly a man who understands that the success of his company wasn't built soley on his own and that his workers were an integral part of the buisness model. Good for him and his workers and the new company for agreeing to worker retention.
        A P
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Luc Helterbrand
        GAG.....more like those workers should be thankful that this small business owner worked his ass off all of those years to keep those people employed WITHOUT government help. It is all thanks to HIM, nobody else.
        A P
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Luc Helterbrand
        GAG.....more like those workers should be thankful that this small business owner worked his ass off all of those years to keep those people employed WITHOUT government help. It is all thanks to HIM, nobody else.
        A P
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Luc Helterbrand
        GAG.....more like those workers should be thankful that this small business owner worked his ass off all of those years to keep those people employed WITHOUT government help. It is all thanks to HIM, nobody else.
      garsarno
      • 2 Years Ago
      Finally, a corporate class act!
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