This week, Charles S. Snyder Inc. of Route 443, West Penn Township, is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

The firm is in a tough business. It sells farm equipment. The combination of decreasing farmlands and a difficult economy would indicate that things might be tough for the Snyder firm.

Instead, the firm is going strong. A new product line was recently added. Charles S. Snyder not only sells farm equipment but snow blowers, lawn mowers, and toys.

It's a family operated business founded during the Great Depression.

There's a reason for the success of Charles S. Snyder. The company knows how to treat its customers with respect. It provides fast service when farmers need it.

Nancy Knadler, a member of the Snyder family, said if a baler breaks down and a farmer has 4,000 bales of hay to take care of, it's important repairs are made quickly, especially if the forecast calls for rain.

It's this type of philosophy that has spelled success for the Snyder family.

Many corporations today could learn something from the Snyders. Too often firms get so big they forget that it was customers like you and I who helped their growth.

It's obvious the Snyder family will never let this happen to them.

They made it clear during an anniversary banquet and an interview with a reporter that the customer - as the saying goes - always comes first.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com