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Schadel celebrates 100 years

Schadel Sheet Metal Works celebrated 100 years in business with a party on June 21.

The company attributes its longevity to taking care of its customers, President Joe Asbell said during the June 21 event.

“We have certainly done our best to treat the customers and everybody good,” Asbell said. “My thing has always been, I’d rather give you a dollar than take one from you. We tell everybody, if we do a job for you and it ain’t 100 percent right, tell us first.”

The June 21 celebration at the 302 S. Saratoga St. location featured food and games for the community. Workers and their families, longtime clients, city officials and more were in attendance.

Planters Peanuts founder Amedeo Obici, the story goes, brought Carl Schadel over from Germany to work in his peanut plant but then fired him after he caught him working for someone else on the side.

“Carl Schadel was quite the sheet metal mechanic,” said Jimi Deitz, a sheet metal mechanic himself at the company.

When Schadel got sick and couldn’t carry on the business, Joe Asbell ran the business until after Schadel’s death and then was given the chance to buy it. That’s how he wound up in charge of the company that still carries the Schadel name.

“Word of mouth is a big thing,” Asbell said. “We get so much walk-in traffic with little small stuff, and we try to help everybody out and treat them right — and they go tell their neighbor, and then they come,” Asbell said.

The company does plenty of big jobs, too, such as metal and duct work for customers like government agencies, peanut processors, universities and residential clients.

“It’s all about the customer service and the people, and doing a good job,” said Chris Asbell, Joe Asbell’s son.

City officials who attended the ceremony talked about the impact a family-owned business can have in the community.

“Staying in business for 100 years is truly something to be proud of,” Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett said. “Since 1919, a lot of changes have been made, but if you think about it, some things haven’t changed, because I know your customers still demand quality, timeliness and fair prices. Craftsmanship is just icing on the cake.”

Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes said the story of how Schadel came to America, and to Suffolk, with Planters Peanuts illustrates the ripple effect large companies can have.

“The economics of that still transfer today,” he said. “In today’s world, seeing how a business can still be around after 100 years is a testament to the family.”