BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – One hundred years is a long time to be in business, which is why Friday night in Boardman, one of the area’s best-known auto dealers threw a huge party.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC celebrated its centennial in the parking lot of its dealership on Market Street and a lot of people showed up.
Six hundred people gathered under two large, white tents to congratulate the Sweeney family on 100 years in the auto business.
“We started in 1921,” said Alexa Sweeney.
Alexa is the current president and the fourth generation of Sweeneys to hold the title. Gene Hopper started Stern Motors downtown and Arthur Sweeney later took over, followed by Arthur’s son Bob, then Bob’s son Doug.
“It’s always about the product, the people, meaning the employees and the customers. We still have a great relationship with GM,” said former president Doug Sweeney.
The Sweeney dealership on Wick Avenue operated for 65 years before moving to Boardman in 1986. Alexa credits her ancestors for keeping it going.
“Placed such importance on the good of the organization over the good of the individual and that led us to be really well protected when times got rough. We were set up well,” Alexa said.
“They’re great people, great people. I feel like I’m part of their family,” said Stephanie Pozega.
Pozega is Sweeney’s longest-tenured employee at 44 years. She has worked under all four generations, rising to the position of office manager. She knows how they made it to 100.
“That’s what family does. The family loves the community. They love their employees. They treat them well and that’s what it is,” Pozega said.
Now, Sweeney is looking forward to the next 100 years.
“I think it’s an exciting time to a General Motors dealer because of where General Motors is going with the EVs in particular,” Alexa said.
“We want to make sure that we thank all those great customers. If there’s one message I would ask you to pass along to your audience, we’re so appreciative,” Doug said.
When the dealership first started, it sold whatever kind of cars it could find. Sweeney became a General Motors dealership in 1931 and has been one ever since.