Ed Bozarth’s 55-plus years of selling cars in Topeka appear to be coming to a close.
Bozarth’s dealership — Bozarth Chevrolet #1 Buick GMC Cadillac, at 3731 S.W. Topeka Blvd. — is “under contract to sell,” he told The Capital-Journal on Friday.
The buyer’s identity wasn’t being made public.
Bozarth, 78, said it was his understanding that all employees of the business would be able to continue working there.
“I kind of handpicked the buyer hoping that he would maintain the pride that I’ve had in running the business,” he said. “There’s really wonderful people there. A lot of them have been with me 30 or 40 years.”
Ed Bozarth: ‘It’s my soul’
Bozarth is in the process of making moves that would reduce the number of dealerships he owns to one, in Grand Junction, Colo., he said.
He wouldn’t characterize what he’s doing as retirement — “I hate that word,” he said — but acknowledged he’d slowed down a bit since suffering a stroke.
Bozarth said it would be particularly hard for him to give up the Topeka dealership
“It’s my soul,” he said.
That dealership has won numerous awards over the years in the Best of Topeka contest sponsored by The Capital-Journal.
Bozarth grew up about 12 miles south of where his Topeka dealership is located, he said.
Ed Bozarth began selling cars in 1966
A 1961 graduate of Carbondale High School, he began selling cars in Topeka in June 1966.
Bozarth bought his current Topeka dealership in 1985 from Kent-Brown Chevrolet Co., according to Topeka Capital-Journal archives.
A Capital-Journal article published in 2006 said that Bozarth by that point owned eight dealerships in Topeka and in Colorado, the state where he now lives.
“He is a friend of football star John Elway, billionaire Bill Gates and photojournalist Susan Ford, daughter of President Gerald Ford, but he feels most at home with his employees and customers,” the article said.
Bozarth’s number of dealerships would subsequently rise to 11.
Meanwhile, he expanded the offerings at his Topeka dealership by making purchases in 2010 of Bill Kobach Buick GMC and in 2019 of Doug Richert Cadillac.
A lot of people don’t realize what a great community Topeka is, Bozarth said Friday.
He said that while he’d lived in seven different cities: “I can’t think of a city where I would rather live than Topeka, Kansas. Things just can’t get any better than Topeka, Kansas.”