Americans have always been renowned worldwide for their gritty gumption to get the job done. The American landscape is decorated with hand-hewn pieces ranging from the smallest birdhouse to the largest contemporary home. Achieving these works of art requires tools of uncompromising quality. Enter Great Neck Saw Manufacturers, Inc., of Mineola, N.Y. — a company that has stood shoulder to shoulder with American artisans for more than 80 years.
Great Neck Saw is a leading manufacturer and distributor of hand tools for the hardware, home improvement, automotive and mass retail markets. The company offers more than 4,000 tools and accessories within five product lines. “We provide quality tools to the consumer at very competitive prices — from the do-it-yourselfer to the professional contractor,” says Stephen Maltese, director of marketing.
Great Neck Saw operates five manufacturing facilities and three distribution centers throughout the country, ensuring customers the broadest selection of competitively priced hand tools from a single source. The company offers a complete line of products, beginning at the top end with saws and tools manufactured exclusively in the United States. “We supplement those products with imports, so we can offer products from the top to the bottom of the market,” Maltese says.
Some of Great Neck Saw’s largest customers include major retailers such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Kmart, Wal-Mart and Auto- Zone. “We market to automotive aftermarket channels through retail stores and distributors,” says Maltese. “We also offer private-label packaging capabilities, and we have our own marketing department that handles all the design and packaging for our customers. Great Neck tools are known for their durability, reliability and excellent value at a competitive price.” So people might not know that the private-labeled tools they purchased at their favorite retailer were actually made by Great Neck Saw.
The company’s five lines include Great Neck®, the industry’s most comprehensive offering of high-quality hand tools, which are easy on the wallet and backed by Great Neck Saw’s lifetime warranty. Hardware Machinery® products are the company’s most competitively priced all-purpose tool sets, and are designed to meet the requirements of everyday needs. The Sheffield® brand includes a broad range of multipurpose pocket utility tools for outdoor sports, home, hobby or office use. The Mayes Brothers® brand offers a complete line of levels designed to meet the needs of professional contractors and home users. The OEM® brand of professional-quality automotive tools is used by professional auto technicians and do-it-yourself home auto mechanics.
Tradition and Flexibility
“We are a very old family-owned and -operated company, and today the company is still owned by the founding Jacoff family,” says Maltese. He adds that Samuel Jacoff first opened his business in 1919 by making hacksaws. Today, the family’s third generation leads the company, which employs 600 people. “There’s really a feeling of tradition here,” Maltese says. “The family has a daily luncheon meeting in our conference room for managers. There are very few companies that would sit with all the executives every day for lunch and bandy company issues about.”
Because of the streamlined management, the decision-making process is quick and nimble. “We are able to get new products approved without having to go through committee reviews, and that allows us to have new products out on the market while other companies are still thinking about what they will do,” says Maltese. Great Neck Saw is vertically integrated through its five manufacturing facilities. The headquarters in Mineola manufactures a variety of tools. The Farmingdale, N.Y., facility manufactures measuring tape. The West Babylon, N.Y., plant produces the plastic handles for Great Neck Saw screwdrivers, which are made in the Mineola plant. The Johnson City, Tenn., facility produces Mayes Brothers® levels. Finally, the Buck Brothers® forged tool division located in Millbury, Mass., manufactures chisels and wood-carving tools.
Upgrades for Change
No one will dispute that we live in quickly changing times, and those that adapt the quickest to the sometimes-unexpected changes will continue to survive and thrive. Great Neck Saw is such a survivor. “There are fewer and fewer retail chains and distributors in the U.S. with the consolidations that have taken place, and the fact is that we need to concentrate our efforts on the remaining customers, large or small,” says Maltese. “Many smaller chains have gone out of business or have been acquired by larger chains. Those that are left find themselves in extremely competitive circumstances. Great Neck’s diverse product offerings allow all of these customers to fulfill their needs.”
For this reason, as well as to keep true to the Great Neck Saw tradition of providing quality tools, the company continues to invest substantial amounts of capital in new equipment. “We spent about $2.5 million just on equipment last year for new molding machines and new saw-manufacturing machines,” says Maltese. The company continuously invests in upgrading and expanding its facilities and its capabilities.
“We need to keep making quality products and refining our capabilities so we can profitably sell to those major customers here in the U.S., while maintaining our relations with a lot of the smaller customers out there and thriving throughout the country. No other company can match our mix of American-manufactured products,” he continues. Maltese also notes that many of the company’s competitors import all of their products from overseas.
The company expects to see continued growth and consumer interest in its line of tools as gifts. “This area offers a lot of growth potential for us. We take items like the Sheffield® multitool sets and package them in such a way that people would not hesitate buying them for their dad for Father’s Day or Christmas,” says Maltese. The Great Lite® flashlight line of products is one of the company’s newest launches, and is proving to be very popular among consumers.
Great Neck Saw expects to continue in its tradition of robust annual growth of between 10 and 15 percent. “All of our customers require a lot of special care,” Maltese says. “So the challenge for us in the future is to maintain our relations with all of our customers, large and small, that we’ve been doing business with over the years.”