Al Cioni Ford celebrates five decades of hometown service
GRANVILLE — In 1934, a Ford dealership opened on the south end of Granville. It’s now 84 years later, and there are still shiny new Fords sitting on the lot.
For the past 50 of those years, it’s been owned by the Cioni family and is currently under the leadership of Granville native Al Cioni.
In 1956 Al’s father, also an Al, started working at the dealership originally opened by Doug Stonier. He purchased it from Stonier in 1968.
After his father died in 1998, ownership passed to Al. In the 20 years since, he’s been proud to continue the long tradition of providing the best customer service possible. His dedication has earned him the honor of winning the brand’s “President’s Award” seven times.
“It’s all about customer satisfaction. You can’t win that award without the customers, and they’re always our top priority,” Cioni said.
He’s also aware of the place his family’s dealership holds in the history of the area.
“I’m very proud and brag on PC all the time. We’re the biggest city in the smallest county and also the county’s only dealership. I enjoy this. When I go to bed at night, I can’t wait to get back here because I love the people I’m around,” he said.
Cioni said the biggest change in the industry since he began has been with technology and safety.
“It’s been a huge change, even from just 20 years ago, let alone 50; and the change in mileage has been unreal,” he said.
When asked which vehicle he’d choose to represent everything that had been sold in Putnam County over the years, there was no hesitation or surprise.
“The F-150 and the entire F-Series, no doubt,” he said.
When it comes to those special vehicles that he had to keep for himself, Cioni chose a blue 2002 Thunderbird and a bright yellow 2003 Mach 1 Mustang. The one he regrets letting get away was the red 2005 Ford GT, awarded to the dealership because of one of the many President’s Awards.
“I wish I’d have kept that one,” he said, smiling.
Cioni said customers have been another big change in the industry, and he described how well informed modern customers are because of the Internet.
“They know exactly what they want now,” he said.
On Aug. 3, Cioni Ford held a celebratory luncheon in honor of receiving an award for the family’s five decade connection to Ford. A plaque was presented by Ford’s Ivan Boykin, regional manager of sales and service, and Alex Reineke, a marketing manager.
“We only do one or two awards like this a year, and for a dealership to have been in the same location since 1934 is extremely rare. We’re very proud to have a dealership like Cioni Ford in our family, and a family connection is part of what makes Ford special,” Boykin said.
Cioni was also presented a special dealer’s pin featuring two diamonds, one for each 25-year period.
After presenting the pin, Boykin turned to Cioni’s daughter, Laura Vaessen, and said he hoped to be the one to present her with a three-diamond pin.
Vaessen said her and her husband, Jared, plan on continuing the dealership well into the future.
“I just want to be as good as my dad and to be able to keep up with all the technological changes,” she said.
Vaessen is set to be the third generation of her family to lead the dealership, and from all appearances, their three-year-old son, Luke, also enjoys being at the dealership and could realistically be the fourth generation to work there.
“He loves the trucks,” Monnie Cioni, Al’s wife, Laura’s mother and Luke’s grandmother, said.