Alfred Tebbens started a repair shop business in 1944, a small operation that began in Center Moriches. Now 70 years later, that business, now known as Tebbens Steel, is still going strong with its main operation in Enterprise Park at Calverton.
Tom Tebbens Sr, Alfred’s son, said his father worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and started the repair shop when the war ended.
“We still have signs saying ‘Village Repair Shop,’ ” Mr. Tebbens said.
The company celebrated its 70th anniversary Sept. 19, which coincided with National Steel Day.
Most of the company’s operations moved to EPCAL in 1999, Mr. Tebbens said, although it still operates a shop in Center Moriches.
The family originally rented the property for about two years before buying it. Town officials at the time had said that individual lots couldn’t be sold because it was not subdivided.
“It was a wonderful move,” Mr. Tebbens said of the EPCAL relocation.
The company employs about 45 people and all but a few are at the EPCAL site, he said.
Mr. Tebbens, who took over the company in 1960, says he still works five days a week. His son, Tom II, is now the company’s Chief Operating Officer.
Tebbens Steel originally did a lot of work in the agricultural industry and, in particular, the duck industry, Tom II said. They also did work for the Plum Island research facility.
The company now does a variety of jobs, such as metal fabricating, engineering, welding, machining, bridges, rails, and stainless steel kitchen details.
“This is an example of what works,” Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said in presenting Tebbens Steel with a proclamation. “When people say that industry is dead and things aren’t working and there’s no jobs, and they moan about everything that’s wrong, Tebbens Steel represents everything that’s right. If you’re in business for 70 years, it’s definitely what is right.”
Tebben Steel was one of the first companies to move to EPCAL. Mr. Tebbens Sr. said three other businesses were there at the time — Michael Reilly Woodworks, Hustler Powerboats, and Stony Brook Manufacturing.