MINEOLA, N.Y. - Robert Jacoff never thought he'd end up running a fourth-generation family business manufacturing everyday tools that make life a little easier. The co-president of Great Neck Saw Manufacturers said it started with his great grandfather Samuel 100 years ago.
Great Neck Saw has four manufacturing plants. The biggest one is in Mineola where the company makes hundreds of thousands of saws and screwdrivers every month.
"Great Neck Saw is a family run operation that's constantly morphing because the industry demands us to morph," Jacoff said. "We sell hardware, we sell automotive, we sell sporting goods. Walk into any Home Depot or Lowe's and there'd be something we're manufacturing in Mineola."
Each brand has its own style and color scheme. Great Neck Saw is the largest privately held tool manufacturer in the United States. It manufactures for major retailers including Husky for Home Depot and Kobalt for Lowe's as well as private label for two-step distribution stores like Ace Hardware.
Its products are in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Central America and parts of South America and Europe. Great Neck Saw is on track to hit $150 million in sales this year. When it comes to quality, Great Neck Saw takes pride in its heritage and the fact that the tools are made on Long Island.
"We use some of the standards from the 1920s, '30s, '40s, '50s today because they were the best you could get and we still manufacture to those standards," said Peter Hagicostas, the director of corporate quality assurance.
Handles for the screwdrivers are placed on pegs and then go through acetone vapor baths to polish the surface. A carousel is used to insert the blade.
Hacksaw blades start as coiled steel and are stamped into the shape of the blade before they're set into a frame for grinding where the teeth are formed.
Great Neck Saw manufactures five days a week out of a 265,000-square-foot warehouse. It has 200 employees in Mineola. Many of whom have been with the company for more than a decade.
"Manufacturing in this facility has sort of mirrored the American immigration story starting from my family immigrating from Russia, then we had Irish coming in and working in our factories," Josh Jacoff, the VP sales, said. "They moved up in the world, Portuguese came into this area and for several generations populated our factories, they moved up in the world and now we have Central Americans working in our factories. It's really a melting pot and tapestry of cultures who have come through these doors."
"My country is Portugal," said one employee. "Thirty years. I like it. It's the first job in the United States."
"I'm working to take care of my family," said another. "It's good."
Great Neck Saw has no plans of leaving Long Island anytime soon.