MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- When the COVID-19 pandemic hit three years ago, local manufacturing became a critical need in the national emergency. But, there are few companies manufacturing all of their products in the United States.
Ball Chain Manufacturing Co., Inc. is the only U.S. supplier of ball chains remaining and the largest in the world. That type of chain is used for ceiling fans, hand bags and dog tags. Ball Chain is the exclusive supplier of dog tags to the U.S. military.
The secret to Ball Chain's longevity: innovation and automation.
"Prior, when people could easily purchase chains overseas, we automated as much as we possibly can," said president Bill Taubner on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by Dime Community Bank.
The Mount Vernon-based manufacturer can make more than 100,000 pieces and connect the chain without human labor.
"By adding that automation, that's enabled us to really stay competitive throughout the industry," said Taubner.
The company was founded by his great-grandfather Frank and his father Val out of their garage in the Bronx in 1938. Bill Taubner is the fourth-generation leader. Today, Bill works alongside his two brothers on daily operations while his father remains chairman.
Ball Chain Manufacturing has added services through the years, including painting the chains after they acquired a client and hired their employees. They have a product line called Shimmer Screen that are used as curtains and partitions at corporate headquarters such as LinkedIn, Crate & Barrel and Logan Airport in Boston.
It was also one of the manufacturers that stepped up during the pandemic. They created a whole new business by distributing masks for hospital workers.
"We quickly found out that the mask industry was full of nefarious people - a lot of people who were bringing counterfeit masks to markets," Taubner said. "We never purchased from any middlemen, agents, third parties, intermediaries. And we put people could count on us for authentic masks that met standards."
Ball Chain's Bona Fide Masks now has more than a million customers worldwide.
See how Ball Chain Manufacturing continues to grow and spot the right business opportunities on the Small Business Spotlight video above.