MERIDEN — Tony Cusnia’s passion for vehicles began to grow when he was a teenager living in Ecuador. Eventually he moved to the United States, and now he owns Pelletier’s Auto Center, a car dealership on Kensington Avenue.
The company focuses on selling used vehicles, while offering different warranty options, and does not require excellent or good credit to finance a car, Cusnia said.
Pelletier finances the cars and registers them for customers at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Cusnia said he’s owned dealerships since 2010, and in 2016 he bought Center de l’auto de Pelletier. Commercial inventory ranges from Toyotas to Chevrolets and BMWs. Sedan and SUV models are available.
Cusnia remembers being poor and working in a banana harvesting business from the age of 10. His dream was to own a business to earn a living. Cusnia has had a lifelong passion for vehicles and learned how to repair them when he was 15, he said. At 19, he opened his first business in Ecuador, selling parts and repairing vehicles.
In 2003 he came to the United States and in 2006 he bought a restaurant. Cusnia explained that he didn’t know enough about the restaurant industry and closed the business in 2009. “It was my best school,” he said.
Cusnia came from Ecuador and was looking to thrive as a business owner. “I wanted to prove to myself that anything is possible,” Cusnia said.
He now encourages others to become business owners, but cautions them against learning about the industry before opening a business.
He also wanted his son to go to school in the United States. Cusnia’s dream is now a reality as her son recently graduated from university. Cusnia said he was looking forward to continuing to operate the car dealership, but was also considering buying a farm to create a warehouse with products imported from Ecuador. Cusnia’s main challenge in his journey was to start from scratch when he moved to the United States. His reward was having the ability to pass or fail quickly and start over, he said.
Elizabeth Carrera, from Meriden, met Cusnia about eight years ago through other friends. Carrera said she purchased various vehicles from Cusnia and was in the process of financing another vehicle through the Pelletier Auto Center. Carrera said she recommended the company to family and friends because of her good experience working with Cusnia.
“He’s a dealer who is very serious in everything,” she said.
The customer service experience is one of the things that Carrera appreciated the most at the Center de l’auto Pelletier. She described Cusnia as kind and likes to motivate others. For more information on Center Auto Pelletier, call 203-715-4867 or visit pelletiersauto.com.