What would you do if your boss, as a way of saying thank you while he prepared to retire, gave you a check for $26,000?
When Bob Jenkins, a 26-year mechanic at Ann Arbor’s Howard Cooper Import Center, got just that at 7 a.m. Wednesday, he couldn’t stop his knees from shaking.
“I was shocked,” Jenkins said. “You just don’t expect something like that.”
Howard Cooper surprised his employees with “thank you” checks this morning as he transitions into retirement.
Jenkins was one of 89 employees at the 47-year-old auto dealership — located on South State Street north of Eisenhower Parkway — that received a “thank you” check from Howard Cooper as he transitions into retirement.
As the ownership officially changes hands this month, Cooper gave his 89 employees quite the generous send-off: $1,000 for each year of service worked at the dealership. Cooper first reported the news to radio host Lucy Ann Lance on 1290 WLBY-AM Wednesday morning.
“I wanted to thank my employees and that was a way I could do it,” Cooper told AnnArbor.com. “I hope it makes a difference in their lives like they have made in mine.”
Sandy Reagan, a 46-year employee at Howard Cooper, said it’s “touching” that Cooper gave every employee the same amount per year, even people that were just hired in July.
“If you were here for 6 months, you got $500. If you were here since July, you got $83,” Reagan said.
Howard Cooper opened on South State Street in 1965 as a Volkswagen dealership. In 1972, it expanded with the addition of Porsche and Audi franchises, and then added the Honda brand in 1979.
When Cooper announced he planned to sell the dealership to the family-owned Germain Motor Co. — which now has 19 dealerships in five states — he made employee retention a condition of the deal.