Duchini Blocking the Recession
In 1932 an Italian immigrant by the name of Avellino Duchini started a small masonry company out of his garage. Nearly 80 years later, Duchini's still stands in Erie, just a little bigger. And it's still the Duchini family that runs it, five generations later.
"Family pride. It's a family business and 4th generation now so I keep coming back," said plant supervisor Geoffrey George, who is related to the Duchinis.
"You don't have to be the last name Duchini to be family here. We've had many generational employees too. We've had fathers have their sons work here and their daughters. So it really means a lot to us that people think enough to recommend their children come work for us too," said sales manager Christina Duchini Mulvin.
To this day their business remains masonry products like retaining wall blocks, fireplaces, and stones. They even own an Ace Hardware store to sell it all. But their biggest money maker; concrete blocks. Thousands are produced from scratch every day through a completely automated process.
"In this facility two people can run this whole plant. One guy tends the block to make sure a good product is coming out and the other guy tends the block on the other end to throw out any rejects and to place the cubed out block out in the yard," said George.
They can produce 30,000 blocks per day. To put that into perspective, to build the Wal-Mart store across the street from their location, it took 75,000 blocks. That means they can create enough blocks to construct an entire Wal-Mart in two and a half days.
But because of the recession, fewer businesses and homes are being built, and that's taken a toll on Duchini.
"Commercially and residentially. Usually one is up the other is a little down. I kind of goes back and forth. But they've both been a lot down lately," said Mulvin.
"I tell people we're not setting any records but we're not going anywhere that's for sure," said George.
Business remains steady though, and they still employ just less than 50 people. The plan is to keep the family name going for many more years to come.
"It's your family and there's a lot at stake. I see all the hard work that my dad has done and all that he goes through every day," said Mulvin.