In the early and mid 1920's, founder Paul E. Myers had a small farm route in south western Mahoning County where he bought and sold produce and livestock. As his farm began to grow, and his children got older, his farm route expanded to the market in Youngstown, Ohio.
Along with selling the local farm produce, Myers began to buy and sell automobiles. Back then, automobile dealerships did not have full lots of new vehicles like we've come accustomed to today. The assembly line concept was still fairly new and although production time sped up, it still took a fairly long time for a new vehicle to be built and delivered, therefore, Myers would drive a new vehicle on his route and began to move cars and trucks along with his farm produce. In 1933, after a boom in the automobile industry as America began to move into personal vehicles rather than public transportation, Myers opened a REO Motor Car dealership on W. Rayen Avenue in Youngstown, Ohio.
REO focused their manufacturing on truck chassis, as their most popular model, the REO Speed Wagon, is considered an ancestor to modern day trucks. Myers would bring in the chassis and up fit the truck for the customers needs, he would work together with another local company for the truck body, to finish the up fit.
During the Great Depression, manufacturing companies, like most of America, took a hit. Some companies were able to rebound and become profitable again, while others were not. By the mid-30's, the struggle of meeting production deadlines for sold bodies forced Myers to look for more body options, and while at a national truck show in Chicago, Illinois, he met a man by the name of Ralph H. Carpenter from Mitchell, Indiana. Mr. Carpenter was the founder of Carpenter Body Works where the development of an all-steel school bus body was beginning to replace the wood and steel combination body.
Carpenter invited Myers to Mitchell, Indiana, to tour his plant and make a deal, and this partnership led to the founding of Myers Equipment Corporation in 1937. Over the next 60 years, the all-steel school bus body pushed Carpenter to being a corner stone in the bus body industry.
In 1949, with the Great Depression and World War II in the rear-view mirror, Myers had outgrown the shop in Youngstown, and made a decision to move the shop to 601 East Main Street in Canfield, Ohio. This is where Myers Equipment began turning into the company it is today, as for the next 50 years, this would be home.
With the growth of Myers Equipment and the business opportunities in 1959 Northeast Ohio, Paul with his two sons, Richard and David, made a decision to start a second business, Myers Bus Housers, that specialized in housing a fleet of buses. MBH would build a steel building that could accommodate any sized fleet, as storing the buses out of the elements would help prolong the units structural life. The Canfield location was not big enough for both Myers Equipment and Myers Bus Housers, so they built the first bus houser on a 105 acre pony pasture in Ellsworth Township owned by Richard and David. The first ever houser is still in use today.
With the retirement of Paul E. Myers in 1968, Richard and David took over the company, and continued to expand both MEC and MBH. As Myers Equipment grew, Richard and David decided to open up the product lines to more than just school buses. MEC began offering commercial buses, handicap accessible buses and vans, and got back into the truck body market, this time as a body dealer and not a chassis dealer.
In 1981, a few years after Myers Bus Housers was closed, Richard and David recognized the need for a used bus and bus salvage yard so they decided to open up Myers Bus Parts & Supply at the old Houser facility in Ellsworth. After a bus gets traded in for credit towards a new unit, one of two things will happen, either the unit is cleaned and repaired to be sold as a cheaper option for buying new, or the unit is completely stripped of all of its parts and salvaged. Seats, windows, engine, doors, everything but the shell of the unit is removed. One of the unique features about Myers Bus Parts is that on the property, is a crushing machine that uses 350 tons of force to flatten a school bus down to an 18" slab. It's the only bus-specific crushers in the world.
The 90's were tough on the school bus market and that forced manufacturing companies to merge together or go bankrupt. The 70's & 80's "Big Six" manufactures (Blue Bird, Carpenter, Superior, Thomas, Ward, and Wayne), was down to the "Big Four" with Blue Bird, Carpenter, Thomas, and International remaining. IC was the mother company of AmTran, which bought out Ward during bankruptcy in the 80's, which is how IC became a school bus staple. Carpenter would ultimately suffer the same fate as Ward and Wayne, even after an attempt to restructure and refinance.
Facing the same problems that Paul E. Myers did 60 years ago, the Myers family was forced to look for options and had to find a new school bus body manufacturer. Myers Equipment sold their last Carpenter school bus in 1996, selling the Carpenter name and products for 59 years, Myers Equipment had no choice but to move forward.
In May of 1996, the Myers' went to High Point, North Carolina to walk through the Thomas Built Buses facility. Liking what they had seen, and with the promise and innovation of a new conventional style school bus (Saf-T-Liner C2), Myers Equipment signed the contract on July 9, 1996 to become a Thomas Built Buses dealer. Thomas is owned by Freightliner which is a division of Daimler, and with the way the market was headed meant that every Thomas conventional style bus would be paired with a Freightliner chassis, eliminating the old bus market of being able to pick and choose your body, chassis, and motor.
With the new Thomas product line, Myers Equipment began to outgrow its Canfield location, so in 1999 the Myers family made a decision to sell their lot on Main Street and Fairground Blvd to CVS Pharmacy, and built a new 43,000 square foot, state of the art facility on the 105 acres in Ellsworth Township, that also housed Myers Bus Parts & Supply.
Over the last decade, the Myers family has stayed true to the principles of the generations ahead of them. Myers Equipment has been family owned and operated for four generations now, and with over 40 employees, Myers Equipment and Myers Bus Parts would like to thank you, the customer, for your support since 1937.