Hissong Kenworth Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Open House, Award Ceremony and Trade Fair
Event Brings Together Company Founder and Long-Time Customers
RICHFIELD, Ohio – Fifty years ago Robert “Bob” Hissong and Don Fritz struck up a business relationship that eventually became a lifelong friendship. And, it all began with a Kenworth truck.
Fritz was among Hissong’s first customers after Bob Hissong and his father and brother bought the Kenworth franchise and opened the second Kenworth dealership east of the Mississippi in 1961 in Richfield, Ohio.
Hissong Kenworth recently celebrated its 50th anniversary during its annual open house and customer appreciation day at its flagship store and corporate headquarters in Richfield, Ohio. Fritz was among the many customers who visited the dealership during the open house and meet and greet breakfast. The day’s events also included an award ceremony and a catered lunch at noon, followed by a customer appreciation event with a display of new truck technologies and a vendor fair. New and used Kenworth truck models were on display throughout the day.
Fritz, who also attended the dealership’s 25th anniversary celebration, didn’t buy one of his first Kenworth trucks, a 1961 Kenworth, from Hissong. But Bob Hissong took care of him as if he did, making sure that his Navarre, Ohio-based livestock hauling business got parts and service support when he needed it, he added.
“The service department at Hissong has always taken good care of us and Kenworth has always made a good, reliable truck,” Fritz said. “I guess that’s why all of our trucks have been Kenworth and I have bought all of them from Hissong since 1963.”
Today, with both the 85-year-old Fritz and Bob Hissong retired, business between Fritz Livestock and Hissong Kenworth is now conducted by their sons, Mike Fritz and Darren Hissong. Darren, the 51-year-old president and part owner of Hissong Kenworth, said the relationships his father developed when the dealership first started not only led to good personal friendships that have lasted through the years, but also a solid reputation as a dealer local businesses could trust.
“When our dealership first started, Kenworth was not a well-known truck manufacturer in the Eastern United States,” Darren Hissong added. “My grandfather, father and uncle were really starting on the ground floor.”
According to Hissong, his family worked hard at developing and maintaining a reputation for excellent customer service. Hissong Kenworth especially benefited from the combination of PACCAR’s financial strength combined with Kenworth’s quality and innovation, helping to propel the Kenworth brand and making it the truck of choice.
“Plus, over the years, as the industry’s emphasis on spec’ing choices for trucks have changed from more horsepower to greater fuel economy, so has Kenworth,” Hissong said. “Kenworth has changed and adapted its product line to help dealerships like ours offer trucks that could best meet those needs.”
During the past few years as customers held onto their trucks longer, Hissong Kenworth has especially concentrated on parts and service. With more than 110 employees in Hissong Kenworth’s four locations in Ohio (Canton, Chillicothe, Columbus and Richfield), Hissong said the company plans to open new parts and service centers as opportunities arise.
“We’re positioning ourselves for the long-term by continuing to work hard to provide excellent parts and service support for our customers,” Hissong said. “We know that when customers start buying more trucks again, Kenworth has the product line that will meet their needs.”
Kenworth’s quality heavy and medium duty products, combined with excellent dealer support from dealers like Hissong Kenworth, contributed to Kenworth receiving J.D. Power and Associates awards for “Highest in Customer Satisfaction” for both 2011 Heavy Duty Truck Dealer Service and 2010 Medium Duty Truck Dealer Service.*
Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World’s Best® heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth is an industry leader in providing fuel-saving technology solutions that help increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. The company’s dedication to the green fleet includes aerodynamic trucks, compressed and liquefied natural gas trucks, and medium duty diesel-electric hybrids. Kenworth is the only truck manufacturer to receive the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Excellence award in recognition of its environmentally friendly products. In addition, the fuel-efficient Kenworth T700 equipped with the low-emission PACCAR MX engine was named the 2011 Commercial Heavy Duty Truck of the Year by the American Truck Dealers. Kenworth’s Internet home page is at www.kenworth.com. Kenworth. A PACCAR Company.
*Kenworth received the highest numerical score for heavy-duty and medium-duty truck dealer service in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Heavy-Duty Truck and 2010 Medium-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Studies(SM). Heavy-Duty study based on 1,651 primary maintainers of 2010 model-year Class 8 heavy-duty trucks and measuring 4 manufacturers. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of primary maintainers surveyed in April-May 2011. Medium-Duty study based on 1,258 responses measuring 8 manufacturers in and measured overall service quality of new medium-duty (Class 5, 6, and 7) trucks (2009 model year). Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions primary maintainers and owner operators surveyed in June-August 2010. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com
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