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. 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 says. “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, the 51-year-old president and part owner of Hissong Kenworth.
“We’re positioning ourselves for the long-term by continuing to work hard to provide excellent parts and service support for our customers,” Darren Hissong says. “We know that when customers start buying more trucks again, Kenworth has the product line that will meet their needs.”