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.

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.

At the anniversary, 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.

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," Hissong said. "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. During the past few years as customers held onto their trucks longer, Hissong Kenworth has especially concentrated on parts and service.