Bustling business

ABC Bus Co.Family-owned ABC Cos. has grown from a small charter bus company to America’s No. 1 distributor of pre-owned coaches.

Ron Cornell has always loved buses. Good thing, since, as son of ABC Bus Co. founder Clancy Cornell, he has been involved with the hulking vehicles for as long as he can remember.

“I was born in the business,” says Cornell, who today serves as president and CEO of the company his dad founded (now named ABC Cos.). “From a young age, I’d be out in the garage, cleaning buses that just came in, cleaning the windows and seats, servicing them, rebuilding engines. I’ve always loved it.”

Clancy Cornell’s background in the industry dates back to the 1940s, when he worked as a bus driver for his brother-in-law’s charter bus company in Fremont, Neb. In 1950, when he was 20, Cornell scraped together $6,000 and bought an intracity and charter bus company in Boone, Iowa.

The Boone operation proved highly profitable, and in 1956, after selling the business for six times his initial investment, Cornell bought an intracity and charter bus business in his hometown of Faribault, Minn. There, the Cornell family established ABC Bus as a successful, local city and charter bus line.