JERSEY SHORE - It was a good time for young and old alike as employees of Jersey Shore Steel came out to celebrate the company's 75th year in business during a company carnival Sunday afternoon.
The guest list included present employees and their families, as well as retired employees and their guests. Those in attendance snacked on a variety of delectable fairground treats, including cotton candy, Italian ice and kettle corn.
Employees had a chance to try their hand at winning numerous prizes, including passes to Knoebel's Amusement Resort and gift cards to numerous local businesses and restaurants. Entertainment was provided by the Uptown Music Collective, and Country Store Catering roasted a pig with all the trimmings.
Ryan Griffin, 9, and his family, of Williamsport, watch as Gofer the Clown makes balloon animals during Jersey Shore Steel’s 75th anniversary celebration for employees, retirees and their families on Sunday. From left are sister Andrea; her mother Lori; father Jan; and Ryan.
Children played on bouncy castles and squealed in delight as Gofer the Clown deftly twisted balloons into complicated animals.
According to CEO Jack Schultz, the family-friendly atmosphere was in line with the company's homegrown ideals.
"There aren't a lot of family-owned manufacturing businesses left that are still operating. The competition is stiff, and many have sold out to larger companies over the years. We're proud to still be privately owned," said Jack Schultz, CEO.
Jack and Pete Schultz, chief operating officer, came into the manufacturing business by birth. The company originally was started in 1938 by their grandfather, John A. Schultz. His sons, Charles and John Jr., took over after his death in 1943.
A fire in 1963 and the devastating flood in 1972 threatened to destroy the company, but the two brothers were undeterred. They rebuilt again and again, and ultimately saw the company expand.
Jersey Shore Steel now employs about 275 locals and operates both the Jersey Shore facility and a fabrication division in Montoursville. Unlike many large corporate operations, it's not uncommon to see Jack and Pete out on the manufacturing floor working directly with their employees.
"We aren't run by mysterious men in suits, which is really nice in this day and age. Everyone who works here knows Jack and Pete. They're down there on the line every day; you don't see that much anymore," said Tonya Chopick, who works in the company's sales department.
Dick Delaney, plant superintendent, agreed.
"This is more than a business; it has a real family atmosphere. Everyone from the owner down to the guys on the shop floor are proud of this place," Delaney said.
"We're very close to each other, and it's nice to be able to come out, get to see everyone's families and take some time to celebrate the anniversary," he added.
Employees in the company's human resources and sales departments spent many hours brainstorming the celebration. Planning for the event was extensive, but the staff felt it was important to celebrate the company's longevity and success.
"We all really wanted to celebrate 75 years in business because that's a milestone. We formed a committee and everyone had their own part in making this come together. It took a lot of work but it went off without a hitch," Chopick explained.
Commemorative coins were created for the event, and four granite plaques were carved for the occasion. The plaques featured the faces of all the Schultz owners throughout the history of the company.
"We made one to hang here (at the Jersey Shore facility), one to hang down in Montoursville, and then we got two smaller ones made for Jack and Pete," Chopick said.
So what's in line for the company's next 75 years?
"I think we're going to continue to improve," Schultz said.
"We have the type of employees who take pride in creating a quality product. They realize we need to be productive, to focus on quality and to work safely. We're going to continue to try and reach for those goals every day," he added.