“We’re the last of the six,” Ken Cernak said about his family’s decision to close the 80-year-old dealership after the last car is sold this month.
The Cernaks — Ken owns the business with his daughter, Jennifer — say the dealership has been a casualty of tighter margins and a reduction in the varieties of new cars available to them.
The service department at Cernak Buick closed at the end of January. The Cernaks are now selling off their used car inventory. The new cars were sold to another dealer.
the Cernaks said business was also affected when Buick’s product line was cut last year, with the new offerings that the dealership could sell reduced to just the Enclave, Envision, and Encore SUVs.
The Cernaks have been selling cars on Northampton Street since 1940, when Ken’s father, Samuel Cernak, started the business as a Studebaker dealership. Cernak switched to Buick in 1948, and the business has been a Buick dealership ever since.
The Cernaks could have added additional new car brands, but only if they abided by a General Motors requirement to relocate to Northampton and close the Easthampton dealership.
“We didn’t want to abandon the town,” Jeffrey said. “This is where we’ve been forever.”
Jeffrey cited his grandfather’s desire to see the business remain in Easthampton, where Samuel Cernak grew up as one of 15 children.
“People like coming here. You’re not going down into the hodgepodge of King Street (in Northampton),” Ken said. “It’s nice and peaceful.”
Jeffrey said that selling the dealership to an employee, or employees, hadn’t been an option available to the family. He also said that if a buyer for the dealership were to come forward, it is his understanding that General Motors would have to approve the takeover.