Over the course of three generations what started as a small string production company in the garage of an Astoria home has grown into a 1,000-worker plus company still headquartered in Long Island.
“I can remember going to my grandparents house and seeing the strings in the basement,” D’Addario CEO Jim D’Addario recalled.
His grandfather was Charles D’Addario, who came to the US in 1905 and brought the family’s string business with him from Salle, Italy. In 1918, he began making strings in Astoria.
If ever there was a Long Island success story it would be D’Addario. With what Jim says was significant support from the town and county the company was able to keep expanding from their tiny start. In 1994, they moved into their current building at 595 Smith Street in Farmingdale they had 140 employees now they have 800.
“I think the local government has seen that when they give us help, and that help is normally tied to job creation, we often end up creating more than number of jobs expected,” Jim D’Addario said.
Each day, the factory at Smith Street produces 700,000 strings. Across the street, where the company recently relocated, their carbon steel mill, more employees help to create, what the D’Addario company says is the strongest string in the world; the NYXL string.
Many of those employees are the sons and daughters of former D’Addario employees, according to Director of Product Management Brian Vance said.
“A lot of generational workers,” Vance said. “People have worked here from one generation to the next.”
That’s true for the D’Addario family as well.
“The fourth generation is actively involved in the company,” Jim D’Addario said. “We want to keep the company private and family run and do that but running it in a healthy fashion.”
That healthy fashion includes environmentally sustainably. The company is a recipient of the New York State Environmental Excellence award and Jim is a member of the Long Island Forum for Technology and the Leadership Initiative Action.
“One of our brand purpose is to run a sustainable company that doesn’t have a negative impact on the environment,” Jim D’Addario said.
The biggest thing Jim D’Addario said they did was to reduce the packaging. An eight-piece set went to two with the addition of color balls on the end of strings and selling the strings in packs.
“The numbers of trees saved are staggering,” Jim D’Addario said.
They also recycle everything, even separating and recycling a quarter-piece of wire.
“We recycle as much as possible.” Jim D’Addario said.
D’Addario just launched their NYXL string and they plan on expanding the offering to more models. They are also working on a web app that would allow people to design their own strings and buy new ones from that app.
And Long Island is home. While their strings are sold in 120 countries and they have offices all over the world, Long Island continues to be home.
“There so much to do here, Jim D’Addario said. “If we moved out of state I’d be very upset. I play a lot of golf there’s the beaches; see a lot of shows.”