Hafer Truck Service Celebrates 50th Year
Caption: Hafer Truck Service Driver Don Fausnaught has been with the company for 15 years. Don said, “Jim is nothing but a nice guy. If you are in trouble, he will help you out. I have nothing but good to say about him.”
Caption: Left to right: Jim and Ruth Ann Hafer with the Hafer Truck Service staff – Cathy, Amanda and Cindy.
By Steve Pollock
COCHRANTON, PA… Back in the 1960s when Jim and Ruth Ann Hafer were dating, Jim would take her to the garage while he changed truck tires. It was then that Ruth Ann realized that Jim was a workaholic who loved trucks. But, she married him anyway.
Jim Hafer’s love of trucks started when he bought his first dump truck at the age of 16. Just a couple of years later (1962), Jim founded Hafer Truck Service, purchasing a couple of additional dump trucks. The trucks were kept busy hauling material that was being used in the construction of both Interstates 80 and 79 in Pennsylvania. As the roads neared completion, Jim realized that the dump work was somewhat seasonal and he diversified into flatbed hauling, purchasing a couple of flatbeds, lowboys and stepdecks. For a number of years Hafer Truck Service served as an agency for several different trucking companies, including Landstar until deregulation made it possible for the company to file for its own authority. The Cooper Energy Company in Grove City, Pennsylvania sponsored Hafer Truck Service for ICC Authority and they continued hauling compressors and parts for the oil field industry for Cooper Energy until the plant closed in 1990.
Today Hafer Truck Service operates 21 company trucks and has 7 owner-operators leased as well. Operating under their own authority, Hafer Truck Service hauls for companies such as Meadville Forge, Advance Cast and Bucks Fabricating. The company delivers freight in about a 500-mile radius of Cochranton, Pennsylvania.
Jim has always been an entrepreneur, starting up and owning several businesses over the years. He has also spent many years farming. In 1979 Jim Hafer bought land on the Northwest corner of I-79 at the Geneva/Cochranton Exit 144. He started a fuel stop at the exit to fuel his own trucks as well as offering fueling services to the public. In 1983 Jim built a restaurant on the complex, which he ran for a few years until it was leased to “Aunt Bee’s Restaurant”, who continues to operate it to this day.
In 1985 Jim built a garage and established Geneva Truck Sales, offering late model used trucks to the public. By 1989 Jim had acquired land at the Southeast corner of exit 144 of I-79. He obtained a Western Star truck franchise and built a dealership on the property. After acquiring property and a truckstop that was closed at the Barkeyville (exit 29) Interchange on I-80, Jim opened a second Western Star dealership in 1991. The franchise was sold to Fyda Freightliner in 2005 and the company continues to lease the Barkeyville facility from Jim. In 2009 Aunt Bee’s Restaurant at the Geneva/Cochranton exit of I-79 was destroyed in a fire. At first the Hafers were inclined not to rebuild and just level the building. However after many local folks asked where they were going to have breakfast and enjoy a cup of coffee with their friends, Jim and Ruth Ann decided to rebuild so the community would have a local restaurant. Aunt Bee’s reopened about a year later. Today Jim and Ruth Ann continue to operate Hafer Truck Service, Hafer’s Truck Garage and Geneva Truck Sales. At the age of 68, Jim plans to slow down a little, but not retire.
Each February, Jim and Ruth Ann go to their property in Florida to get a break from the Pennsylvania winters. But there are also other motives as Jim attends the Florida truck auctions, purchasing trucks for Geneva Truck Sales. Never one to waste an opportunity, Jim usually takes a load of freight down while Ruth Ann and the family dog rides along with him. With a little luck Jim will have many more years to “Keep On Truckin’.”