You may not know the American Specialties Inc. name, but you’ve likely used the Yonkers company’s products.
Anyone who has excused themselves for just a moment to make use of the bathrooms at Yankee Stadium, One World Trade Center or Madison Square Garden has likely ducked behind ASI Group’s bathroom partitions, as well as used its hand dryers, soap dispensers and lockers.
Those are just the big-name locations you can find its products. The company, in its own words, “offers the most complete collection of products for the modern washroom,” and does so for clients big and small in more than 50 countries worldwide.
For four decades, ASI has kept its corporate headquarters above a manufacturing plant on Saw Mill River Road in north Yonkers. On Oct. 11, the company celebrated a full renovation of its corporate office. The ribbon cutting included a visit from Mayor Mike Spano, who praised the company’s presence and the 175 jobs it brings.
While the company was founded in 1961 in the Bronx, Patrick Grasso, the founder of ASI, started looking for a place to consolidate the company’s presence in the late ‘70s, as told by company President and CEO Peter Rolla.
“He chose Yonkers because he believed Yonkers provided a good distribution point, a steady supply of vendors and a solid workforce,” Rolla said at the ceremony.
Rolla said the company remains in Yonkers today for those same reasons. His family bought the company from the Grasso family in 1987 and continues to operate it privately. From the manufacturing facilities in Yonkers, ASI products are shipped throughout the world. The site includes about 160,000 square feet of manufacturing space along with the newly renovated 11,000-square-foot office space.
The shiny new desks and office furnishings are just the latest investment the company has made at its Yonkers location, Rolla said. The company has also built 25,000 square feet of warehouse space and invested in solar panels that generate about half of the required power for the company’s manufacturing.
Spano and other elected officials walked through the ASI warehouse following the ribbon cutting. The space last year became home to one of the most advanced laser automated manufacturing machines in the world. The company says its 24/7 manufacturing technology allows it to ship more products in 48 hours from the time of order than any other company in its industry.
In his remarks, Spano put the company’s office investment in the context of what he said was more than $3 billion in development underway in the city. Much of that construction has focused downtown and on the waterfront farther south in the city, but Spano said established employers such as ASI are part of the city’s “engine.”
“It matters to have a company here for 45 years that chooses to stay here, to reinvest and want to stay here,” Spano said. “What it means is, when we go out the door and ask companies to come here and invest, they come. And that’s why we’re cutting so many ribbons.”
ASI hired Yonkers firm Lawless & Mangione Architects & Engineers LLP to handle the design of its renovated office, along with Ruban Contracting for the construction.
The ASI Group operations span well beyond Yonkers. The company serves a global range of clients through operating units and offices throughout the U.S., as well as in Canada, Australia, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Middle East, Mexico and China. The company said it employs about 900 people worldwide.
Following the ceremony, Rolla said the city’s strong workforce will allow the company to stay in Yonkers for years to come.
“A business is nothing without its workforce,” Rolla said. “That’s what’s important and why we’re able to stay here for 45 years and we plan to be here for another 45.”