In 1997, fixed-operations manager Richard Bauman opened up a whole new world of hiring possibilities for Cascade Auto Group's Michelle Primm.
Bauman, then 61, had worked at a nearby dealership until it closed, but he wasn't ready to leave the business permanently. Though he didn't want to work full time, Bauman wanted to stay busy yet have a flexible schedule.
Primm, who was finding it increasingly difficult to hire dealership employees, decided to bring him on at her family's dealership in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Bauman qualified for a state of Ohio computer training program that would pay his wages for six months.
"He never left," Primm, the store's managing partner, said of Bauman, now 76, who works 20 hours a week tracking her parts inventory. "It works great. He has trained my last two parts managers and really mentors them and helps with different inventory projects. I work around the births of his grandchildren and his golf game."
Moreover, the experience convinced Primm of the benefit of hiring retirees or near-retirees to work in the dealership. Sixteen years later, Cascade employs a dozen people fitting that description and ranging in age from their late 50s to their 80s. They make up about 19 percent of the company's work force.