Farmland is vanishing. The economy is bad.

But Charles S. Snyder Inc., a West Penn Township firm specializing in farm equipment founded during the Great Depression, continues to grow.

The firm, located along Route 443, is celebrating its 70th anniversary this week.

Numerous special events are scheduled this week:

Ÿ Bring a photo of you and your tractor or equipment purchased from the firm to post on the wall of memories. A special drawing will be held for the photos.

Ÿ All week long, there will be entries for the "Chester Look Alike Contest." Dress up like Chester Snyder and a photo will be taken. Customers can vote on the best look alike of Chester until Oct. 30.

Ÿ The first 750 customers get a free tee shirt.

Ÿ There will be a special lunch treat each day through Friday.

Also in conjunction with the anniversary, the firm will be introducing the newest addition to the Charles S. Snyder firm, the full line of Kubota equipment, which includes tractors and mowers.

An anniversary dinner by the firm was held at the Mahoning Township Ambulance Building. Special recognition was given to some of the long-time customers of Snyder.

It was noted that the first tractor sold by Snyder's was to Andrew Bolish of Weatherly on Nov. 21, 1940.

A narration of the history of the company was given by Marsha Thomas, a granddaughter of the founder.

She said that if you take the complete list of employees, it equals 592 years of experience, including 166 years of experience by the service department.

Thomas was assisted by other family members, some who even did small skits.

It was noted that one of the reasons for the firm's success is its reputation for prompt service. Nancy Knadler, daughter of Charles Snyder, said, "If a farmer needs to get 4,000 bales of hay down, and there's rain predicted, he can't wait to get his baler fixed if something goes wrong."

Thomas went through the major lines of merchandise the firm carries and told when it acquired the brand. It includes New Holland, Toro, Stihl, and Kubota. Service is provided for all the brands.

It was noted that initially tractors were delivered to Snyder's by rail. In 1945, the first building was constructed at the company's present location.

The New Holland line was added in 1951, said Thomas.

It was in 1960 that Charles S. Snyder became incorporated.

Charles F. Snyder took over the business in 1965. Chester and Jean Snyder entered the business in 1970. In 1979, Richard and Nancy Knadler joined the firm.

A proclamation from the Pa. House of Representatives was presented to the Snyder family by Lauren Miller, staff assistant for State Representative Jerry Knowles.

Charles S. Snyder is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, and evenings by appointment. For more information, phone (570) 386-5945