Business owner seeks to extinguish customer mail misfire

Business seeks to extinguish customer mail misfire

June 3, 2014
Brandon, daughter Bristol, 2, and wife Leslie Farner stand beside one of the many trucks used by their company, Farner Fire, in Hanover Township Tuesday. - Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Brandon Farner is a man of letters. The kind that are written and mailed.

Unfortunately for him, and his Hanover Township business, some did not reach the intended recipient or were simply unread. And it is costing him customers.

Last winter, Farner sent notes to two sets of clients he had just acquired: those of Farner Fire Extinguishers, a company his father, Walter Jr., owned; and those who purchased extinguishers at C. Bennett Auto Supply, a longtime Washington business that was closing.

“We have over 500 customers in Washington County and I sent everybody a letter,” Brandon Farner said Monday.

But when a few Bennett clients who were unaware of the switchover found out the auto store shut down May 11, they figured they had to go elsewhere for extinguisher service. And they did.

Farner said that number is small – “There are two or three people I lost” – but he wants to limit the defections. So instead of distributing another letter, he accentuates the point that his company now has the extinguisher end of the former Bennett enterprise, which operated for 54 years.

According to, the company is “a certified fire extinguisher company that services Western Pennsylvania and the northern panhandle of WV.” It sells new and used fire extinguishers and other safety products, and offers restaurant fire system services and restaurant hood and filter cleaning.

Items also may be purchased online.

Farner Fire’s main office and warehouse – for those with GPS – are at 1299 Pennsylvania 18, Burgettstown, PA 15021, about two miles north of First Niagara Pavilion.

For Brandon, 28, this is akin to expanding a business he launched in 2007. He started Brandon Farner Fire Extinguishers, also in Hanover, separate from his father’s Farner Fire Extinguishers.

When Walter Farner retired during the winter, the son picked up the father’s clients, along with those from Bennett, and tweaked the name to Farner Fire.

He, in essence, is a third-generation owner of this business. His late grandfather, Buzz, longtime fire chief in Burgettstown, started it in 1960.

Brandon, of Hanover, is the owner and his wife, Leslie, essentially runs the office. There are three full-time certified employees and several working part time.

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won seven individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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