Ann Arbor's long-time Howard Cooper auto dealership sold to Ohio-based company
Ohio-based Germain Motor Company has acquired Ann Arbor's 47-year-old Howard Cooper auto dealership, the company announced Monday.
Photo courtesy of Howard Cooper
The Ann Arbor dealership employs 90 people, and according to Cooper, retaining those employees was essential to him choosing a buyer.
"My employees are very important to me and the reason for my success," Cooper said. "I know of a couple of buyers who would have paid more, but taking care of my employees was important to me."
The family-owned Germain Motor Co. has nine dealerships in Ohio, seven in Florida and one in both Arizona and Arkansas.
Company President Stephen Germain, in the news release, called the purchase of Howard Cooper a “great opportunity” for his family to expand business into “a good market in a dealership with an outstanding reputation.”
He added: “All four brands have a bright future.”
His daughter, Jessica — who attended the University of Michigan — will help run the company, Germain said.
"I got a buckeye with Steve but a good Wolverine with his daughter," Cooper joked. "(Steve) has an outstanding track record."
Cooper said he decided to sell when he and one of the manufacturers had a fundamental disagreement over market potential. Cooper, 83, said it was a good time for him to exit rather than be involved with legal battles over the next couple of years.
"We had a basic disagreement over market potential. It didn’t look like it was going to be resolved. ... I didn’t want to go through legal process, didn’t need to spend two or three years resolving the issue," Cooper said. "I decided maybe at my age it would be a good time to hang it up. Twenty years ago, maybe it would be a different story."
Cooper would not disclose the financial details of the agreement as the deal is not done yet. He decided to release the information and inform his employees Monday morning of the deal even though everything isn't set in stone yet.
"It's hard to keep these things a secret and I didn’t want my people to hear about it from anyone but me," Cooper said. "I elected to get the information out there to relieve any concerns."
AnnArbor.com reporter Pete Cunningham contributed to this report.