Family is Cerni Motors’ driving force

By Burton Speakman


After 50 years in the business and decades of selling International Trucks, Cerni Motors is determined to keep moving forward.

Cerni Motors celebrated its 50th anniversary with a few hundred of its closest friends Thursday night as part of a business after-hours event organized by the Youngstown/ Warren Regional Chamber.

“I think about our 2,600 [or] 2,700 members, and not a lot of them have a 50 beside their name,” said Thomas Humphries, the chamber’s president and CEO.

Vince Cerni, a third-generation member of the family who works at the company, said the company started behind the efforts of his grandfather John Cerni, his grandfather’s brother, Charlie Cerni, and their spouses. “Without their drive, this company would not be a success,” he said.

Cerni Motors was founded by the Cerni brothers initially as a GMC truck franchise on Parkman Road Northwest in Warren. The operation outgrew that location, and by the mid-1960s, the brothers had built a new building on U.S. Route 422 in Niles. They started selling International Trucks around the time of the move.

Since then, the business has remained family-operated with all 10 of the founder’s children and all 38 cousins working for the company at some time, Vince Cerni said. He also thanked his father for his efforts in running the business.

“My father has been a great role model for the third generation and the second generation as well, because he’s the oldest,” he said.

“This company has always been about family. Not just the Cerni family but the employees of the company,” John Cerni said. “It means a lot to have made it to 50 years.”

He added he hopes the business has served as a positive force within the community.

“If my father and uncle were still here, they would be right in the middle of this with us, wearing their bow ties, hats and smoking a cigar,” John Cerni said.

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, Cerni Motors received commendations from the state Senate, state House of Representatives, the Austintown Township trustees and the Trumbull County commissioners.

This is a company that has been loyal to the Mahoning Valley for 50 years, said Frank Fuda, Trumbull commissioner.

“This company proves the adage that good people create good opportunities for all of us,” said David Ditzler, Austintown Township trustee.

Despite Cerni Motors’ starting in Trumbull County, it feels like the company has been in Austintown all 50 years, Ditzler added.

Cerni Motors supports a lot of other local businesses within Austintown, said township Trustee Jim Davis.

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