Susquehanna Fire Equipment Company

Bucknell University SBDC Client Success Story
Extinguishing the Flames of COVID‐19

In 1951, Max Foust Sr. started the Susquehanna Fire Equipment Company selling fire extinguishers out of a garage. Over the last 70 years the company has grown and now proudly provides the most innovative and advanced fire, safety, and suppression equipment and services available to protect lives and property. Today Keith Foust, the 3rd successful generation of ownership, serves as President and leads a firm with 33 employees and two locations.

“The SBDC was a valuable resource and they kept us up to date as information came in.”

Throughout those generations, the company has endured numerous challenges but nothing could have prepared them for the impacts of COVID-19. In March 2020, business as usual was abruptly extinguished: sales declined severely and layoffs were imminent.

As one of the longest-term clients of the Bucknell SBDC – Keith will proudly recall the single-digit “client number” assigned to Susquehanna Fire Equipment Company decades ago – he knew exactly where to turn for help. He reached out to the center for assistance learning about and securing COVID-19 relief funds.

Keith and his team worked quickly and closely with the SBDC as they applied to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL). The company was soon approved for funding through both programs and every employee was happy to report for duty – even if it meant working in new positions and changed conditions than before the pandemic.

By May of that year, Keith began to see a clearing through the smoke and business slowly began to recover. Keith and his team are grateful for the SBDC, and especially for the EIDL program and both rounds of PPP funding that helped Susquehanna Fire Equipment Company survive the flames of the pandemic.

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