SHARECOMMENTMORE

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- A Michigan car dealership owner will turn over his business to new owners later this month, but there was something he had to do first.

Howard Cooper gave all 89 employees $1,000 for every year they worked at the Howard Cooper Import Center in Ann Arbor.

Cooper tells AnnArbor.com (http://bit.ly/PbTtOA) that he just wanted to thank them and hopes "it makes a difference in their lives."

The 83-year-old sold the dealership in April to Ohio-based Germain Motor Co. He declined to say how much the workers received, but mechanic Bob Jenkins' check was $26,000.

He has worked at the dealership 26 years.

Sandy Reagan, a 46-year employee, said Cooper received a standing ovation Wednesday morning when he handed out the checks.

The business opened in 1965 as a Volkswagen dealership.