Fabriweld Thriving After Weathering the Economic Storm - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Fabriweld Thriving After Weathering the Economic Storm

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Fabriweld in Erie has been around now for five years, but it's one of those small businesses that nearly didn't make it.  When the economy took a tumble in 2008, owner Mike Grudzien wondered if he'd make it through.

"About six months it was slow.  I'd come in here and almost just kick around tumbleweeds coming through," he laughed.  "Not quite that bad, but enough that if you had payments to the bank, if I had payments to the bank, I wouldn't have been able to make it."

Luckily he weathered the storm and just last year posted his best year as a business owner.

"Everything is going up and up and it's almost to the point that I'm turning away work now," said Grudzien. 

Take it from one of the five full time employees, shop foreman Gordon Brown.

"We are busy, yes.  We're booming right now," he said. 

The name Fabriweld comes from the services they provide; Fabrication and welding.  They take raw steel and turn it into a finished product like a frame, or a custom conveyer.

Grudzien is hoping to soon make it to the retail market.  He's involved in a nationwide contest right now by Wal-Mart called the "Get on the Shelf" contest.  He entered his product called the "Granny Handle" into the contest. It's a locking hand rail for elderly people to make their way up and down steps.  If he wins, you could be seeing the "Granny Handle" in Wal-Mart's around the country.

As Fabriweld continues to evolve, and they become a recognizable name in the market, they continue to grow.

"Like I said, manufacturing is booming in this town.  As manufacturing goes, we go," said Grudzien. 

"I think this company can go anywhere it wants to.  The owner and the people stand behind the company and their product and when they put something out there, they're there.  I think it can go wherever they want to go," said Brown. 

While it may look like just dirty, tough work, these men couldn't imagine doing anything else.  In fact, they really have fun doing it.

"It's kind of like growing up.  You still get to play in the dirt," said Brown. 

"Absolutely it's fun.  It's like a big erector set!  I'm like a big kid playing with big toys," laughed Grudzien.

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