Many companies in Erie County say they're family owned, or at least have family ties. But the William T. Spaeder Company on East 18th Street is really family owned.
In 1914, William T. Spaeder started his own company, in his garage on East 25th Street.
He and his wife had 11 kids. Nine of them picked up the tools of the trade, at a rather young age. One of them was Terry Spaeder's father.
"There were nine owners for the second generation and currently there's eight owners. My father was president of the second generation and I'm president of the third," said Terry Spaeder, company president.
Three generations and 18 total owners later, the Spaeder's still run the ship. So to say it's stayed in the family may be an understatement. What also may be an understatement is to say the company has grown over its 97 years.
"Currently we've gone from my grandfather to currently we have 145 employees. That's both union and non union," said Spaeder.
In their massive garage, you'll find employees working with mainly piping. Piping for industrial and commercial plumbing, heating and air conditioning. And you've probably seen them out on the job.
"Some of our larger clients are the housing authority, hospitals, local universities, the wastewater treatment plant, Erie Water Works. Those are some of our largest clients," said Spaeder.
Their work inside the fabrication shop is not easy. It's hot, and it's definitely manual labor. But some workers say they wouldn't have it any other way.
"I consider myself a hard worker. I couldn't be behind a desk all the time. I just enjoy what I do. I enjoy manual labor. The fellas here are the same way. We get into welding, we get into fabrication, we get into pipe fitting, it's a technique to it," said Paul Case, the fabrication shop foreman.
And Case will soon have a bigger workspace to practice those techniques. In fact, the William T. Spaeder Company will soon break ground on a $2 million, 6,000 square foot expansion project.
"Just pure growth of the business. Things have been that good for us that we see the need for additional people and additional resources," said Spaeder.
With that expansion, will come a few more jobs, and a continued dedication to serving, and staying in Erie County.
"This is where everybody was raised and this is our home," said Spaeder.