David Snell, a downtown Albion mainstay, honored by Chamber for ‘lifetime achievement’

Photos by Tom Rivers: David Snell is pictured at 107 Main St. in Albion, outside the offices for Snell Realtors.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 October 2022 at 10:05 am

ALBION – When David Snell was in college at Baldwin-Wallace University in Ohio, he majored in health and physical education. He was expecting to become a coach and lead teams in athletics.

Snell played fullback for Baldwin-Wallace football team. He enjoyed playing that role for a team that was nationally ranked and won its conference championship.

Snell also spent a lot of time with his father, Peter Snell, in Albion. The elder Snell started a real estate business in 1958. When he was a senior in college in 1978, contemplating his next move after Baldwin-Wallace, David decided to get his real estate license and return to Albion and work with his dad. His mother Irene also was in the business as the administrator of the office, and David’s siblings – Peter, John and Sue – all worked there too. (Sue recently retired.)

David has stayed in real estate in Albion for 44 years now. He has fulfilled his goal of building a successful team.

“I have a very excellent staff,” Snell said. “They are very bright and conscientious of their work. They are very involved in the community.”

The Snell Realtors staff has grown to about a dozen real estate agents, doubling in size in the past five years after Snell expanded next door in the former Fischer’s News Room.

The Chamber of Commerce is honoring Snell with a “Lifetime Achievement” award this evening during the Chamber’s annual awards celebration.

Darlene Hartway, the Chamber director, said Snell deserves recognition for running a business for 44 years now on Main Street, and for putting together a successful and committed staff.

“It’s really a team effort,” Hartway said about Snell Realtors. “The realtors pitch in for each other. He has fostered a team approach. The common thread among the staff is they’re all vested in the community.”

Snell has grown his staff and expanded next door without seeking any fanfare.

David Snell is shown with a photo of his father, the late Peter Snell who started in real estate in Albion in 1958. The elder Snell ran a real estate business with John Paganelli, before it became Peter Snell Real Estate. The business is now known as Snell Realtors.

Snell joined his father in the business at a time when Albion was at a difficult crossroads. Lipton’s close din 1980 and interest rates were at 16 to 17 percent.

Peter Snell told his son houses would still sell, especially with so many people leaving the area to find other jobs.

“My dad said everyone needs a roof over their head,” David said.

His father passed away in 2000. Peter was known to be very talkative while David is more reserved.

But Hartway said David has shown a clear commitment to Albion and Orleans County.

David said he feels very blessed in his career, especially the many years he was able to work so closely with his parents and siblings.

“The older I get I realize how fortunate I am,” he said. “My father was my mentor.”

Snell said he could have sold real estate elsewhere, and made more money. But he doesn’t regret staying in Albion.

“There are bigger prices in other areas,” he said. “But working with my clients in Orleans County means more to me than working in another area with a higher average sale price.”

Snell called his team of agents “an All Star team.” He also has contacts with many mortgage representatives, lenders, surveyors, attorneys, title examiners, home inspectors and septic contractors.

Cindy Burnside has worked 25 years for Snell as a real estate salesperson and more recently as the office administrator. She praised Snell for fostering a team environment where the real estate agents help each other rather than compete with others on staff. If one agent needs help with a showing, meeting a home inspector or having signs picked up, others will gladly lend a hand.

“No one is trying to outdo someone else,” Burnside said. “They’re just trying to do their job and help others, too. It’s not every man for himself. David has cultivated at atmosphere of a team effort. Everyone takes care of each other.”

Snell brings a passion for real estate – and for people, Burnside said.

“He is extremely fair and honest,” she said. “It’s a family atmosphere that we have here. It’s a great team.”

Karen Conn has worked four years with Snell after 17 years with another real estate broker. Conn, an Albion school teacher, said Snell is very accommodating to her full-time job while giving her and the other agents the staff development and support they need.

“This kind of business it’s all about relationships,” Conn said. “David has been the best person to work with. He is so even keeled and so knowledgeable. He goes in everyday with the best intentions. He is not out there grandstanding at all. He would rather us all be successful.”

When Snell played football at Baldwin-Wallace, he was an undersized fullback at 180 pounds.

“I learned a lot about teamwork, hard work and competing against athletes who are bigger and faster than I was,” Snell said.

Snell Realtors is smaller than many others in the region. But the Snell staff continues to find a way to grow and serve their customers.

“Our strength is our team,” Snell said. “It’s not about me. It’s about us.”