Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Didn't get a chance to finish your story? Purchase a day pass digital subscription and you'll receive unlimited online access for one day (24 hours). You will have immediate access upon completion of your purchase.

A long-time Waverly car dealership has changed hands.

Coonradt Ford Inc., which has been a staple in the community for 85 years, is now under new ownership.

Witham Auto Centers, which has stores in Waterloo, Cedar Falls, and La Porte City, will be adding the Waverly location as its foothold in Bremer County.

The ownership changed on Nov. 1, but the company’s commitment to great service remains the same, said Bill Coonradt, the previous owner.

Started by his late grandfather, Ernie, and continued by his father, Robert, 90, the dealership has strong roots in the community, and over the years, had built long-lasting relationships with generations of customers.

“Most of my customers are also friends,” Bill said. “I have sold cars to a lot of friends. I have sold some people 12 vehicles.”

Bryan Butcher, the new general manager, said he took the opportunity to return to the area, and to Witham, where he worked until a few years ago before heading to Orange Beach, Alabama, where he ran a powersports sales and service operation in he still owns.

He said the transition has been seamless for customers.

“Shoppers will benefit from the wider selection of vehicles Witham Auto offers,” he said.

Bill, who will remain part time as a salesman, said the timing was right to sell the dealership, where he had worked, alongside his dad, since he was teen.

“I feel relief,” he said of the sale. “All these years, I never knew what a two-day weekend was. Now I know. I can enjoy my friends without the pressure of owning a business.”