Snyder’s opened it’s doors for business on August 10, 1988. That day was a realization of a dream for Ralph Snyder who had dreamed of owning a salvage yard since browsing through yards as a teenager.
The opportunity had even knocked softly once in the early 1960′s when a local yard was offered for sale after the death of it’s long time owner. Ralph even presented the opportunity to his father and tried to urge him to purchase the dying business, but to no avail. The dream went dormant with the advent of a wife and family soon afterwards.
With a family to support, they moved to Phoenix, AZ. where the construction industry promised a bright future. Through the seventies and the early eighties, Ralph’s two oldest sons, Dan and Andy, grew into their teens and into the love of hot rods that their father had passed on. Both boys spent some time in the local yards around Phoenix browsing for parts to keep their cars running. The dream that once was Ralph’s now had planted a seed into Dan and Andy. More time would pass while the boys finished high school and went on to college.
In May of 1988 Dan graduated from Beloit College in Beloit, WI. with a bachelors of arts in Economics and Management. A few days later construction started on what would be the first building of Snyder’s. The building was constructed on 10 acres of land along state highway 95 just south of Holland, TX. (The Snyder family had relocated to central Texas just a year before). Once Snyder’s had opened its doors in August of 1988, Ralph and Dan plunged blindly into the world of entrepreneurship. The first cars were brought in using Ralph’s 1984 Chevrolet ¾ ton pickup with a $700 slide-in wrecker unit. After bending the frame on the pickup, Ralph shortened the frame on a 1962 Chevrolet C-60 and swapped the slide-in unit.
Income was supplemented in the early years by shop and mobile welding performed by Ralph and parts installations complete by Dan. Any cheap truck or car became a Snyder’s specialty in those early years. The first of thousands of vehicles purchased by Dan was a 1960 Falcon 4 door, bought for $50. Many more of these “cherries” would be hauled in before the move was made to late model salvage a few years later.
The early years were illustrated by the fact that there were no interchange manuals at Snyder’s. It was common practice to guess what part might be the same as the customers part and then pull it to match. Many times this scenario resulted in a lot of work with no pay. After a couple of years of “spinning wheels”, the first interchange manuals were purchased.
The next big change came in the form of computerization. A yard located near Austin, TX had decided to update to a Hollander Yard Management System and had offered it’s used Fast Parts system for sale. To Dan’s surprise, when he mentioned the available computer system to his father, the idea was received with open arms.
By 1993 more changes were under way at Snyder’s. Andy had decided to return to the family business after working as a forester in east Texas. A new 10,000 square foot warehouse was under construction at that time as well. Snyder’s was poised to step up to the plate and become a modern auto recycler. After moving into the new warehouse and dedicating themselves to becoming 100% computerized, the first voice “hot line” was installed. Many Saturdays and Sundays were spent by Dan and Andy inventorying the approximately 1500 vehicles that were already in place in the yard. It would take about two years of overtime work and attrition by crushing before the yard was 100% computerized.
The Fast Parts computer system had helped Snyder’s get its inventory computerized, but it had its limits. Snyders had begun to sell parts wholesale to other yards on the Compass Lone Star Hot Line and sensed that there was a lot more demand to be tapped into. Snyders wanted EDEN. The EDEN network was a computerized hot line linking approximately 2500 yards across the United States and Canada. The problem was that Eden was not available throught the Fast Parts system so another change was eminent. In October of 1996 Snyder’s purchased the Hollander Yard Management System to facilitate access to EDEN. This one move probably had the single largest effect on the volume of business done at Snyder’s up to that time.
Another Snyder sibling joined the team in 1998. Bonnie, who had been an office manager at a doctor’s office in Phoenix, decided to start a family. She approached Dan about doing the books full time at home for Snyder’s, After consultation with and agreement by Andy and Ralph,Snyder’s and Bonnie have never looked back. Approximately two years later Bonnie and her husband, Nick, have moved to Holland to be closer to the family and facilitate a better working environment as the company continued to grow.
By 2002 Travis, the youngest member of the family had graduated from college and returned to the family business as a Production Manager. Travis had grown up in and around the business and had already made significant contributions working as a Part Puller, Delivery Driver, Dismantler, and a Sales Person during his breaks and vacations around school.
As Snyder’s moved deeper into the new millennium the industry had again changed in ways that would demand the family business to work more like a business and less like a family. Consolidation had begun in earnest a few years earlier and that prompted Snyder’s being invited into the fledgling new group of independent recyclers that was referred to as the “Part Source of Texas”. PST was a group of independent recyclers with progressive and professional ideas about how the future of the Automotive Recycling Industry would need to be ran. From this group came unique ideas about marketing and business practices. All of these were embraced in masse at Snyder’s. PST has grown as well. From a few yards spread out in Texas the group has grown and merged it’s way to over 100 facilities spread all over the continental United States. The group is now referred to as Team PRP.
A new way of doing business demanded a new computer system that would be more adept to managing our new business model in a professional manner. Pinnacle was a system that was quickly growing from a startup brainchild of a handful of recyclers to the premier Yard Management System in our industry. After careful consideration, Snyder’s took the leap.
During this period of the early to mid-2000’s, Dan and Andy began taking an active role in the industry in a quest for more knowledge. All meetings, conferences, and seminars were targeted for attendance. The commitment was rewarded with knowledge and ideas that continue to feed the innovation of Snyder’s to this day.
By 2007 the Snyder’s family decided that another major leap in it’s evolution was due. It was decided that in an effort to compliment the full service recycling business, an expansion would be done to a new location where the self-service side of the industry would be explored. Since that time the innovative ideas and quality people that we have accumulated have led to multiple locations spread all over the great state of Texas.
Currently Snyder’s is looking deeper into the new millennium with anticipation. As our immediate families continue to grow, our extended families inside our companies continue to grow as well. One of the special blessings that we have are the wonderful people who work with us every day. We continue to run our companies with the “Golden Rule” being the fundamental ethic that all others spring from. “Treat others the way you would like to be treated.” Isn’t that a simple, wonderful way to run yourself, your family, your company, and your life? We think so.
Rest assured, with this guiding ethic, and with these wonderful Team Members, Snyder’s will face the challenges of the future with a professional outlook and always strive to be the best at whatever we do. The future looks bright indeed!!!