ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Howard Cooper, 83, wished to leave behind something special for his employees upon his retirement. So he gave 89 employees $1,000 for each year of service at his Howard Cooper Import Center.

“The lady behind me had tears running down her face,” employee Sandy Reagan, who has worked for 46 of the dealership’s 47 years in business, told “I sat next to a person who drives the parts van and he’s been here almost 28 years. He doesn’t make a ton of money, but he got almost $28,000.”

Ohio-based Germain Motor Co. purchased Cooper’s dealership in April and agreed to retain all of Cooper’s employees. The Ohio-based group will take over later this month, according to

Cooper opened the store in 1965 as a Volkswagen dealership and expanded with Audi and Porsche franchises in 1972 and Honda in 1979, reported.

“I wanted to thank my employees, and that was a way I could do it,” Cooper told the local media website. “I hope it makes a difference in their lives like they have made in mine.”