By Christine Graf
Matt Snyder is proud to call himself a second generation broom maker.
His grandparents, George and Ann Snyder, started making brooms in the 1970s after purchasing several pieces of 19th century broom-making equipment at an auction. Matt began working in their broom shop, Snyder’s Brooms, when he was 8 and also traveled with them to arts and crafts fairs where they sold their products.
“I love the brooms and started collecting them when I was adult,” said 34-year-old Snyder. “As soon as I started to see my grandparents get older, I realized that when they stop doing this, that Snyder’s Brooms will no longer exist. I can’t let that happen. I’m doing this to keep it going.”
For that reason, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when much of the world was shut down, Snyder decided the timing was perfect to establish Snyder’s Handmade Brooms of Saratoga. He started making brooms out of his home and sold them at the Farmer’s Market.
“It was a hit. I ended up selling about 300 brooms last year, and it just started to expand. It went full tilt from there,” said Snyder who works full-time in sales.
“The demand is there because it’s something you can’t get anywhere else in the world. There are some broom makers out there, but they don’t make brooms like we make. The dyed broom corn and the braiding makes them unique. They are functional pieces of art and will last a lifetime.
“I have a broom that I use in the shop that my grandfather made in 2003. They sweep better than any broom you will ever get in the store. They aren’t synthetic and are made just like the old timers made them. They are definitely lost pieces of history.”
Snyder’s brooms are decorative, functional and handmade using antique equipment that was given to him by his grandparents. Handles are hand turned on a lathe and vary in design and intricacy. One of his most unique brooms—the Snyder’s Flyer—was inspired by the Nimbus 2000 from the Harry Potter movie series.
On average, Snyder’s brooms range in price from $40 to $150 and take up to three hours to make. He signs all of his broom handles just as his grandfather had always done.
Snyder spent the winter building up his stock of brooms and also started making handmade wooden dust pans. He will sell his products again this year at the farmer’s market and is willing to ship brooms to out of town customers.
He promotes his business through Facebook and Instagram but hopes to have a website up and running in the near future. His dream is to open an “old school storefront” in downtown Saratoga, where people can buy brooms and watch them be made.
“There’s not a ton of money in it when you think of the time that goes into making them. You’re building something on machinery from the 1800s. It’s hard work,” he said. “I don’t do it for the money, and I definitely don’t do it for the exposure. I do it to keep the brooms alive.”