After five years in the community, Joe Maus has sold his two Albemarle dealerships

After five years of serving the Stanly County community, Joe Maus has announced that he would be selling his Albemarle two dealerships — Joe Maus Chrysler Jeep Dodge and Joe Maus Ford, along N.C. Highway 24-27.

Calling it a “very tough decision” on his Facebook page, Maus said he loved being part of the community. “The warmth, compassion, and hospitality, I was welcomed with, and shown, throughout my stay, was second to none,” he wrote. “I will miss all of you!”

In a comment to The Stanly News & Press Wednesday morning, Maus said the dealerships have been officially sold. As an owner of numerous businesses, including Joe Maus Mazda in Charlotte, three wine bars, a sports bar, the Charlotte Thunder, an arena football team and Xtreme World Wrestling (which he brought many times to Stanly), “I just needed to slow down a little,” he said.

The Keffer Group now owns both dealerships, he said.

Originally from a small town in Ohio (comparable in size to Albemarle), Maus spent many years working for the Ritz Carlton hotel chain, before transitioning to the car business, which took him to eastern North Carolina, where he started several dealerships in Goldsboro, Kingston, Clayton and Jacksonville.

When the recession hit about a decade ago, Maus moved to Charlotte and opened two dealerships: Keffer Jeep and Independence Mazda (which later became Joe Maus Mazda).

During his time in Stanly County, Maus found a way to provide services beyond just selling cars through his Hometown Heroes program, where each month, two veterans, teachers, law enforcement officers and firefighters were honored at both Joe Maus Chrysler Jeep Dodge and Joe Maus Ford. All told, Maus said, his dealerships honored about 500 individuals through the Hometown Heroes program.

“I love, admire, appreciate and cherish all our hometown heroes!” Maus said, calling the program one of the favorite things he did. “I will always continue my work with these incredible people.”

Marine Corps veteran Paul Hummel, Albemarle police officer Lance Fallen, South Stanly teacher Michael Curlee and former Albemarle firefighter Tony Russell receive their “Hometown Heroes” plaques from Joe Maus in 2019.

Throughout his tenure, Maus also gave back to several local charities, including Butterfly House Child Advocacy Center, Esther House, along with being a primary sponsor for many of the high school football teams.

He also organizes an annual toy drive and in 2019, brought a few NFL players, including current Carolina Panther Shaq Thompson, to the area to to meet fans and sign autographs. That was the first year he hosted the drive in Stanly County. All of the toys collected went organizations in Stanly such as the Esther House and Atrium Health Stanly, Maus said at the time.

People contributed to Maus’ philanthropic goals whenever they purchased a car because a portion of the proceeds went back into the community. The Joe Maus Foundation has raised more than $350,000 of which about $100,000 has gone back into the Stanly community, he said.

As Maus transitions to focusing on his other businesses, he did not rule out coming back to the area in the future.

“You never know,” he said. “I may be back to Stanly County again.”