Photo by: Jeffrey Barnes

by Joe DeGweck

It is said; that the true measure of a community, its worth and its values, are most accurately determined by the spirit and character of the people that live within it. That is why, this month, After 50 News has chosen to pay tribute to an individual and his family that we believe truly represents the untiring spirit of our community. This month our publication will be telling the story of a man who has obligated himself to the Western New York Region since 1954. For the past 50 years he has veraciously ventured out into the business arena with vision and determination; and in so doing he has added dearly to the quality of life for not only his family but for so many other families. This man is Mr. Paul Snyder. Born and raised in Pennsylvania until his college years, today, Mr. Snyder proudly calls Western New York his home. It is where he decided to raise his family and to plant his roots. It is where he decided to cultivate his dreams and grow. Western New York is a better place today because of the commitment he made and I believe that he feels, he is the better for it.

It all began in the mid 1950’s when Paul, a student at Alfred University, came to Buffalo as a member of an undefeated football team to play against the University of Buffalo. Having won that game that day, the Alfred University football team, together with the University of Buffalo’s football team, were invited to a celebration by Bob Rich Sr.. Through their meeting, Bob Rich Sr. provided the grant and aid that allowed Mr. Snyder to complete his education at the University of Buffalo. Soon after his graduation in 1957, Paul Snyder started Freezer Queen Foods. He was the only employee at first. It started as “just an idea” and “grew quickly”. Freezer Queen was a manufacturer and distributor of frozen meat entrée products. Mr. Snyder established plants throughout the United States and Canada but kept his home office here in Buffalo, N.Y. By the year 1970, Freezer Queen Foods had 1,100 employees and was doing $100,000,000 annually in retail sales. At that time it was sold to Nabisco Foods. This transaction resulted in making Paul Snyder the largest stock holder in the Nabisco Corporation.

During his term as CEO of Freezer Queen, Paul purchased and developed the Darien Lake Camping Resort in 1965. It became one of the largest camping facilities in the United States. Shortly after, through vision, hard work, and relentless commitment, Darien Lake Camping Resort was developed into a theme park and established itself as “the largest privately owned attraction in New York State”. In the late 1980’s it was sold and Mr. Snyder continued his investment in our Western New York Community.

In 1971 Mr. Snyder purchased the portfolio of United States real-estate from the Loblaws Co. of Toronto, Ontario. This included three distribution centers in Buffalo, Syracuse and Chicago and other miscellaneous properties. From this purchase Mr. Snyder established an Airport Parking Facility on Genesee St. across from the Airport. In the mid 1980’s, he also developed the old Westinghouse Plant Facility into an industrial park with over 70 tenants. Three to four years later, through the process of “eminent domain”, the NFTA purchased this property to be used for the expansion of the Buffalo International Airport. In 1982, Mr. Snyder completed negotiation with the Hyatt Corporation to become the Developer and majority owner of a Hyatt Hotel in downtown Buffalo. Although the Hyatt has “been a very difficult project for us over the years” Paul Snyder has prevailed, through numerous obstacles, to maintain and preserve a guest center that he hopes will become a “top of the line hotel” for downtown Buffalo. His expectations are that, through his reinvestment over the next few years, the renovation of the Hyatt will come to fruition and culminate into a “catalyst” for the development of downtown Buffalo as it had been envisioned to be from its inception.

As we spoke, a knock came from the door of the outer office. “Come in” replied Mr. Snyder; and his son, Paul Snyder III entered the room. A pridefulness of a father was engendered as Mr. Snyder introduced his son to me, a graduate of Cornell University. With confidence and trust, Mr. Snyder empowered his son, Paul III to impart the future vision and determinations of the Snyder legacy in our Western New York Community. Paul III spoke pride fully of the many accomplishments of the Snyder Corporation. He told me of the establishment of their conference centers at Beaver Hollow and the Buffalo Conference Center. “They are two of the leading conference centers in this whole area”. These high-tech and tranquil professional meeting places allow national and international companies to gather together in the development of new initiatives and vision for the future of their companies. They serve as centers of excellence that have distinguished themselves as a renowned medium for corporate growth and development.

Another new venture of the Snyder Corporation is the recently established Center for Transportation Excellence. “It provides services to organizations that use transportation and to organizations that provide transportation in a community wide collaboration so that we can help improve the quality of transportation in this community and the services that are available; for everyone. That has a direct relationship, particularly for seniors, on their quality of life

Paul III continued to express his enthusiasm about his family’s partnership to collaborate in the development of the Falls View Casino in Niagara Falls, Ontario. He referred to it as an “investment that has dramatically energized development in the Niagara Falls, Canada region”.

Paul Snyder and his son’s naturally inherent commitment to our community and its people is perhaps summed up best by their newest venture. It is a travel showcase that they are confident will boost the entire region and provide a new path that will promote the local area businesses of this community. “We are excited about our roll in continuing to provide high end travel and hospitality services in this part of New York State”. “Our belief is that the solutions of our community center around families who built businesses and keep those businesses in this community. That’s who we are”.

The Snyder Tours Travel and Vacation Showcase will take place at: where else? The Buffalo Convention Center. On November 29, 2007 there will be two sessions for Group Travel Planners to attend. These sessions will take place from 10:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M. and from 2:00 P.M.-4:00 P.M.. You can reserve a booth at or call 716-332-4206. For the first time ever this showcase will be opened to the general public from 4:00 P.M.-8:00P.M.. Please join us as we discover the natural treasure that Western New York has to offer. Be a part of the activity that will continue to drive our region as we enter into an era of redevelopment and growth.

As I left this family business in downtown Buffalo I remembered two quotes that I feel reflect the philosophy of these two men. The first is an unknown quote that goes something like this, “the only real failure in life is the failure to try” and then there is a quote by Mr. Henry Ford that simply states “whether you believe you can do a thing or not, your right!”. Mr. Paul Snyder had a dream and turned it into a reality but he did not turn over and go back to sleep. He rose and greeted the day with the enthusiasm of a warrior. Perhaps it was that spirit, witnessed and recognized by Mr. Bob Rich Sr., that day in 1954 on the football field. Perhaps it was that spirit that continues to drive him; and how grateful we should be that Mr. Paul Snyder and his family call Western New York their home.

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