Harness maker Daniel M. Smucker has earned a reputation for being on of the finest craftsmen in the world today. But the story of Smucker Harness actually begins over fifty years ago, with a trip his father Moses B. Smucker, and grandfather, Daniel Smucker, took to the Big Apple.
It was 1962. Daniel's grandfather, a farmer and horse dealer, was looking for a way to add side income for his family. On that trip to New York City, on 25th Street, he found a Landis 16 sewing machine, took it back to Lancaster County, and began making and fixing saddles and harness equipment for friends and neighbors.
Moses, just entering his teenage years, followed his dad around, enjoying the work, but never remotely dreaming that it would one day become his family business.
After his father's passing in 1970, Moses, by then a determined young man, decided to take the reins, buying the business from his mother. An entrepreneur by nature, he moved operations to the current building in Churchtown, PA, and began to work out of a small corner in the barn's basement. The business was off to a good start.
But in 1972 Hurricane Agnes came through - a rare weather occurrence for Pennsylvania - and took out a key bridge connecting Moses to his local customers. For about a year, business virtually stopped. Undeterred, Moses called on the horse owners his father had come to know over the years. One job led to another, and pretty soon Smucker Harness Shop was a solid and growing business.
In 1981, Moses renovated the barn to double his shop space. With additional room, he added employees, but that meant he needed new customers outside the local area.
Moses contacted and won as clients some well-known horse enthusiasts, satisfied them with outstanding harnesses and customer service, and Smucker Harness Shop began to build its world-wide reputation.
Moses Smucker's business philosophy permeated the company: every harness they made was to be better than the last one. He worked to instill that attitude in each employee, along with providing customer service without equal.
As the company grew, Moses saw an untapped market in the middle- to upper-income group of clients. Up to that time, harness makers were either very high-end, or strictly for the price-conscious. But Moses knew that many people wanted terrific quality at an affordable price. Today, Smucker Harness continues to fill that niche, offering saddles from the moderatly priced to those that are on par with the finest to be found.
Then came 2008, a turning point for the US economy. With potential clients harshly affected by the economic downturn, the industry began to shrink. That only meant a new chapter in Smucker Harness was about to begin...
Daniel M. Smucker, Moses' son, was in the shop ever since he was old enough to walk. He followed his father around, observing everything he did. With a booming shop and lots of workers to learn from, Daniel's natural talent for harness making soon became evident.
Daniel was quality oriented and detail focused. With his increasing ability to do fine and intricate work, he soon became one of the best of his father's employees.
In 2008, in lean times, Moses decided to leave the business with Daniel at the helm. Today, Daniel keeps customers happy with the best quality and service the company has ever known.
Although smaller in size, Smucker Harness has never had a finer reputation than it does today. Daniel makes sure of that, dealing one-on-one with customers. He is considered by many industry experts (who number among his customers) to be one of the best harness makers in the world.