The year was 1906, the month was March, and the ship Princess Louisa made port in New York Harbor.
On board was an 18 year old lad, Nicola Crivelli, who came to America, the land of opportunity. He couldn't speak the language. His net worth was comprised of a five dollar bill.
After clearing customs Nicola headed for Scranton, PA, where for a short period of two weeks he found work as a slate picker in the coal mines for six cents per hour.
From there he journeyed west to Beaver County and secured a good job with A & S Railroad of J & L Steel for 15 cents per hour. Nicola then took up residence in West Aliquippa.
When Nicola set sail from Italy he had left behind the love of his life, Carmella Mancini. Seven years later in 1913 he sent for Carmella and they were wed just nineteen days after she arrived.
For the first fifteen years of their lives together, the Crivellis remained in West Aliquippa. Nicola continued to work on the railroad.
In 1928, just months prior to the devastating stock market crash of 1929 a monumentous occasion took place. The Crivellis purchased a home in Stowe Township and converted part of the new homestead into a confectionery-grocery store and two-pump gas station, where fuel was pumped by hand. This decision would affect their lives in ways Nicola and Carmella could have never imagined. At the same time Nicola took a job with P. L. & E. Railroad, from which he would eventually retire.
The husband-wife team worked very hard during the Depression years...Nicola with his ten-hour day at the railroad coming home to relieve Carmella at the store, who then would devote the rest of her evening caring for the children and the home. During those trying years Carmella and Nicola continued to add to their already growing family.
In spite of tremendously hard times, Nicola and Carmella flourished. The concept of serving was fast becoming a Crivelli tradition.
Typical of the Crivelli service-oriented mindset was the evening a customer knocked on the store's door at 11 PM, long after closing hours, requesting a pound of cheese. Nicola had his sons re-open the store to satisfy the customer's need. Thus, the Crivelli children were taught to serve by example.
In 1939, the Crivellis opened their first automobile franchise, which was a Nash Agency. They operated the new dealership until 1941 when World War II curtailed auto dealership activities until after the war. During those years the Crivelli family had also built a trucking company and builder's supply.
In 1955 Nicola, Carmella and their eight children secured a Chevrolet franchise for the McKees Rocks area. In 1977 a Crivelli auto dealership opened in Beaver, 1980 in Franklin, 1983 in New Castle, 1989 in Mt. Pleasant, 1992 in Hopewell and 1994 in Reno.
The Crivelli family now represents the following automotive franchises: Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac, GMC, Ford and Subaru. 295 full-time employees draw their livelihood from the Crivelli stores. That number includes 21 Crivelli family members as well.
Nicola was 18 years old and alone in a strange country with five dollars and a dream...a dream founded on the desire to prove his worth. From that small beginning a host of businesses arose, nearly 300 full-time employees and one son, Nick Jr., who actually sat on GM's President's Dealer Advisory Council. The future still lies ahead.