Spokane Journal of Business

Gus Johnson Ford sold to Corwin Auto Group

Johnson retires as dealership changes hands

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Gus Johnson, shown at his Spokane Valley dealership in the mid-2010s, is retiring after owning the business for 29 years.

Spokane Valley-based auto dealership Gus Johnson Ford has been sold to a North Dakota-based company.

Mario Wierzchowski, operating partner with the Tri-Cities dealership of Fargo, North Dakota-based Corwin Automotive Group, says Corwin took over the dealership today, Oct. 18. It is now called Corwin Ford Spokane.

The Spokane Valley dealership's 72 employees will keep their positions, says Wierzchowski, who is now the general manager of the dealership here. Corwin Ford Spokane could hire an additional 30 employees, he says.

Wierzchowski says Johnson has retired.

"We approached Gus a couple of years ago about his plans for the future. Gus said that he was considering retirement in the near future," he says. "He wanted to sell to a company with local roots and that's family owned, that would take care of his employees."

Wierzchowski declines to disclose the terms of the transaction.

Johnson has owned and operated the dealership since 1992. It formerly was called McCollum Ford Sales Inc.

Wierzchowski is also general manager at Corwin Ford Tri-Cities. While two Corwin Ford Tri-Cities managers are moving permanently to Spokane, Wierzchowski will split his time between the two locations. He says Corwin aims to sell a high volume of vehicles at competitive prices.

"Our goal always is to increase the Ford market share in a community," Wierzchowski says. "We also want to leave a positive impact on a community as far as getting involved with philanthropy."

Corwin Automotive Group was founded in 1914. The company now has dealerships in eight cities in seven states—Washington, Idaho, Montana, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, and Nebraska.

Virginia Thomas
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Reporter Virginia Thomas has worked at the Journal since 2017 and covers the health care industry. As a reporter, she loves learning about Spokane's many growing industries. She enjoys travelling with her husband, snuggling with her cats, and cross stitching.

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