Value Motors moved from Leetonia to Salem

Ben Kowalczyk has been in the auto business for over 30 years and moved his Value Motors to 1359 W. State St. in May. He said he always wanted to move his business to Salem and calls his selling philosophy “no pressure.” (Salem News photo by Larry Shields)

SALEM — Ben Kowalczyk moved Value Motors to Salem about a month ago after being located in Leetonia.

After years as a controller with Allied Chemical, which he joined after graduating from Wheeling College in 1965, Kowalczyk bought Ohio Battery and Tire on Midlothian Boulevard in Boardman from the retiring owner.

“I went into a little car sales there and I got into car sales full time in 2002,” he said, explaining he opened Value Motors on Western Reserve Road where he operated for eight years.

He combined with Jack Wilison before moving to Leetonia around 2012, where he was located on Columbia Street next to the Dairy Queen.

Today, Value Motors is located at 1359 W. State St.

“I always wanted to move to Salem,” he said, since he lived here since 1977.

That was the same year he bought Ohio Battery and Tire and also the same year, “the steel mills closed … right at that time,” he said.

He bought Ohio Battery and Tire because Allied Chemical, after Kowalczyk had his ticket punched in Moundsville, W.Va., right out of college and then up in Cleveland, wanted him and his accounting background to transfer to company headquarters in Morristown, N.J.

No dice, the New Jersey transfer was more than he wanted.

“Cars have always been a passion for me,” he said, so owning Ohio Battery and Tire, which is still in business, got him closer to his passion.

He has owned GTOs, 442s, T-Birds and probably 25 different street rods over the years and has accumulated 33 years in the automotive business.

No pressure sales is his credo.

“No pressure sales, that’s for darn sure,” he said about the cars and trucks he obtains from auctions.

“I just try to buy what the people are looking for. I try to buy older, dependable and presentable vehicles and am trying to specialize in trucks if you can get them for less than ‘outrageous,'” he said of the current market for them.

He leans mostly toward General Motors and Ford cars and trucks and when finds one like the 1999 Ford Escort on his lot with 58,000 miles, “something I can sell for around $2,000 to $2,500” he moves on it.

Vehicles anywhere from $2,000 and up and with trucks he tries to stay with the 4-wheel drives, 1997 through 2012, depending on the condition and mileage.

If a customer is looking for a particular make and model, Kowalczyk said, “I will try to help them find whatever they want … it’s pretty much going to be something I want on my lot anyway.”

Something like the 2000 six-cylinder, silver Mustang he has on his lot now for $2,750 or the 1998 GMC with 100,000 miles selling for $2,500.

Kowalczyk emphasizes the no pressure side to the way he does business.

“If they won’t buy it, somebody else will,” he said.

He and his wife, Joyce, live in Salem and they have three grown children and seven grandchildren. For more information, call 330-692-1640.