Peelle: An NYC Institution

Peelle service vans are a common sight in and around the city, where the Peelle name has been known for more than 100 years.

In this Readers Platform, your author describes the supplier’s local footprint.

by Michael J. Ryan

The NYC metro region is experiencing a construction boom: infrastructure improvements, such as rebuilding at LaGuardia and JFK airports, as well as bridge replacements, and new high-rise office, hotel and residential buildings, such as the Hudson Yards complex on the west side of Manhattan, Long Island City’s new skyline, and numerous projects in Brooklyn.

This construction boom is supported by many companies in the elevator industry. The Peelle Co., celebrating its 115th birthday in 2020, has been a key New York player since the late 1800s, when founder Caleb Peelle introduced elevator safety gates. In those days it was common for suppliers to also install their products, and by the time Peelle incorporated in 1905, it had already established a reputation as both an NYC metro manufacturer and installer. Although Peelle moved several times during its history — from NYC to Brooklyn to Long Island— the infrastructure was always in place to service this demanding market. It remains demanding to this day: it’s not uncommon to receive a call on a Friday afternoon requesting an emergency repair team before a busy shopping weekend, or to deliver a replacement part to a waiting mechanic. Working two teams on 12-hour shifts to meet a critical deadline is not unusual here.

Peelle is historically known as the NYC source for vertical- slide, heavy-duty freight elevator doors, and while that remains true today, it has expanded into passenger entrances and replacement panels. The addition of passenger doors to the product line was driven by the expanding NYC market. Peelle customers requested passenger entrance installations in 2005 because the company employed both International Union of Elevator Constructors, as well as Local 580 of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers. This is an uncommon labor practice — two unions installing one product — but one that the New York market demands. In 2016, after Peelle began installing passenger entrances for local NYC elevator contractors, the company would introduce its own passenger entrance and replacement panel products.

Peelle’s vertical freight door and horizontal passenger door installation crews possess unique skill sets because the products are so different. But, it doesn’t stop there: the differences extend beyond the Peelle product. You must consider the elevator manufacturer, elevator contractor, project deadline, building construction work, the schedule and more. The NYC market also requires quick problem resolution in the form of emergency repair crews that perform work on a “time and material” basis to return a freight elevator back to service after it has been damaged through misuse or abuse; or provide next-day shipment of replacement passenger entrances. Up until the 1980s, Peelle offered routine maintenance service of its own material, and it still provides this service for key retailers through the elevator maintenance contractor. The thought here is that, because Peelle installs freight elevator doors and related equipment, who better to maintain these products than Peelle?

Peelle products are a specialty, so Peelle also offers local training on troubleshooting and maintenance. Peelle has participated in both the Elevator Conference of New York and National Association of Elevator Contractors events, in addition to offering “Lunch and Learns” for elevator manufacturers, consultants and contractors. It benefits both Peelle and the elevator community to ensure that all elevator stakeholders have a good experience with the products they use; among these stakeholders, there’s none more demanding than New York building owners. NYC contractors and consultants also depend on Peelle to provide such services as sales assistance, installation and sales training. Peelle offers field surveying of any manufacturer’s existing material for capital planning and replacement.

To support this infrastructure, Peelle’s NYC footprint includes its U.S.-based salespeople and construction management, plus a training facility, parts center, tools and supplies and material warehouse. As the New York region continues to expand, Peelle is committed to providing appropriate solutions for the elevator community and building stakeholders.

Michael J. Ryan

Michael J. Ryan

Vice president of Business Development for The Peelle Co. He is also responsible for Peelle’s North American business. He holds an MBA in General Business and a BA in Marketing.

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