FORT MADISON – A familiarity in the Fort Madison business community is undergoing some changes, including ownership.
Chris Greenwald, owner of Fort Madison’s River City Motors Plus, announced last week that he has entered into an agreement to sell the business over the next five years to two current partners.
In five years, River City Motors will be 35, as this year is Greenwald’s 30th anniversary operating in the city.
Greenwald said staying in business that long is destiny.
“I think it’s a God thing,” he said. “Because I’m not that smart.”
Setting up the deal that way allows the business to continue, which makes Greenwald happy.
‘That’s the way we structured the deal. It works better for everybody. This way I don’t have to watch this thing dismantled when I’m done. It lives on. So, if you like me, I’m gonna be around a little while, and if you don’t like me, I’m only gonna be around a little while,” he joked.
Aris Cox and Mark Cox are the two partners with whom Greenwald has made the ownership agreement.
The new ownership is also installing a body shop on the west side of the business. A Haitian family that Greenwald met is building the new structure. He said the project should be completed by the end of September.
Greenwald said he got a paint booth from Carl Sandburg College’s auto tech program and moved it into Fort Madison. The new prep and body repair/painting will be attached to the west side of the building.
He said his son Aris is more into the body work and has been integral in getting the new services set up.
“Six years ago a young man and his mother came in to buy a vehicle. The young man was something special and you could see that right away,” Greenwald said. “So I asked him what he was going to do with his life and he said he was taking auto mechanics at SCC.”
Greenwald offered the student, Cox, an internship at the dealership garage. In a month’s time he went from being a secondary mechanic who did brake jobs to more advanced work.
He then progressed to auto body courses and, throughout the time working for Greenwald, he began to think about becoming involved in the ownership, a move that was exciting to Greenwald.
Mark said he has enjoyed working on cars with his son Aris. And the opportunity for a partnership and eventual ownership was something they both have a passion for.
“It was definitely something that I would’ve looked for in the future. I had before but once I started here, I didn’t think about it so much because it was less than a job and more something I just enjoyed doing every day.”
Greenwald, who has won some battles with cancer, said he was beginning to lose traction with the business and that the Cox family came along at the right time.
“I run all my decisions by them now. I consider them to be the boss and he’ll ask me what I think, but I’ll say you do what you need to do because, in five years, this will be you, not me.”
Mark said when he and Aris celebrate their 30 years, they’re gonna wheel Greenwald out to the celebration.
The recent developments have given Greenwald time to reflect on his life and what has led him to this place in life.
The former Fort Madison city councilman said he’s happy with how the business has grown and that he’s been able to be a part of the city business community.
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