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Hannay Reels: Fourth Generation Now Leading Respected Small Manufacturer in Upstate New York


Back in the 1980s, Hannay Reels received their first international order. It came from an agricultural business in the country of Columbia, and arrived by fax. That was the opening chapter of the company’s story as an exporter. Today, more than a quarter of Hannay’s business is international.

Hannay makes reels used for industrial hoses and cables. The company, based in Westerlo, New York (near Albany), has been making reels in 1933. They produce 80,000 reels a year, all made to order. Some of the largest reels can weigh 4,000 pounds or more. The reels are used in industrial, mining, fire suppression, energy, maritime, and power washing applications. The company has more than 150 employees, some of whom have been with Hannay for many years.

In 2012, Eric Hannay and Elaine Hannay Gruener became the fourth generation of the family to lead the business. Roger Hannay, having turned age 70, moved from CEO to Chairman. It was under his leadership that exports became a significant source of business – and a cushion when the recent recession reduced domestic demand.

In turn, the company has resumed growth the last several years, thanks to the diversity of its customer base and the advent of fracking in Ohio, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, which has resulted in more orders for reels for the energy sector.

Roger Hannay has been very involved in the National Association of Manufacturers, with the goal of advocating public policies that make the U.S. a good place to do business, especially for small manufacturers. He has served several terms on the association’s board of directors.

In 2014, he also received the Corning Award for Excellence from the Business Council of New York State. The award honors leaders from all walks of life who share the overriding values of achievement and commitment, according to the Council, which is an association of businesses and chambers of commerce in the Empire State. Hannay demonstrated an unwavering commitment to making New York a better state for its residents, the Council noted.

Growth in sales in recent years confirmed Hannay Reels’ decision to move forward with an $800,000 expansion project, which has provided a new 10-ton crane, a drive-through delivery dock, and more floor space for manufacturing.

Communities count themselves fortunate when companies like Hannay Reels are present. Small manufacturers like Hannay, as primary industries, help generate wealth and diversify the economy and the tax base. They provide quality jobs and give back to the community. Hannay Reels has been doing exactly that for more than 80 years.