Tennsco LLC, an industry leader in manufacturing steel storage solutions, is celebrating its 60th anniversary, the company recently announced.
In terms of company history, Lester Speyer had established and grown a successful manufacturing operation in Chicago after serving as a pilot during World War II. In a desire to expand, Speyer searched for a manufacturing opportunity that he could easily fly to in his private plane from his home outside Chicago. He was fortunate to discover the small shuttered KF Kline plant located in Dickson, TN back in 1962. Tennsco, short for Tennessee-Steel-Company, had its humble beginnings with 10 employees on East Broad Street in Dickson. For a decade, Tennsco struggled to find its footing and Speyer’s advisors recommended shutting down operations and cutting his losses. Fortunately, he had confidence in himself, and his team and the company persevered. Fast forward 60 years and Tennsco is now a leading U.S. manufacturer of steel storage products selling products across America, Canada, and Mexico.
Tennsco initially manufactured a limited line of shelving, cabinets, and lockers. Over the years, the company expanded its product offerings to include a wide range of shelving, rack, cabinets, bookcases, lockers, shop equipment, library bookstacks and an extensive offering of filing solutions. The company’s broad product line provides storage solutions for a variety of markets including material handling, office, athletic, medical, automotive, electronics, and information technology.
The operation has grown from the single facility to nine manufacturing plants and distribution facilities spanning over 1.8 million square feet. Tennsco now has 715 team members and is the largest employer in the county.
Lester Speyer’s son Stuart came on board in 1980 to help oversee operations and grow the business. He focused his efforts on product design and process improvement through automation, streamlining manufacturing methods and plant expansions. He attributes much of the company’s success on not only having a broad offering of industrial grade products which operations need, but the ability to produce these competitively with any manufacturing competitor worldwide.
Tennsco prides itself in being a good corporate citizen, the company added. In addition to supporting numerous charitable causes, the company built and donated a community center for Dickson County that includes softball fields and tennis courts. Additionally, Tennsco donated the land and was the primary financial donor for a brand-new animal shelter for the local Humane Society and animal control.
“We are proud of our heritage, not only for all that we have accomplished as a leader in storage solutions but also because we have always manufactured in Tennessee, in the heart of America,” said Rachel Bradley, Chief Operating Officer and third generation family member.