If you have ever been in a hospital, you are likely familiar with what is manufactured inside Curbell, Inc. It's called the "pillow speaker" and it is the remote you use to call a nurse or change the TV channel.
Tina Sabuda is the Vice Chair of Curbell, Inc. and the granddaughter of the company's founder.
"My grandfather has long since past away, but I'm sure he and his brother would be tremendously proud of where we are today," Sabuda said. "I know that when my father started 40-some years ago, that we were only $3 million in sales. And now, we're approaching $200 million."
Curbell, Inc. is a third generation family-owned company, headquartered in Orchard Park. In addition to pillow speakers, they also are a leader in plastic distribution in the U.S.
But the path to pillow speakers and plastics is a unique one for Curbell, beginning in the 1940's with pasta.
"We started out actually well before Curbell as a pasta manufacturing company," Sabuda explained. "And during WWII, there was a lot of industrial revolution going on in Buffalo, New York."
Curbell saw the market opportunity and shifted gears. Two local aircraft manufacturers had an overflow of product that needed to be made.
They knew Sabuda's grandfather had a machine shop within the pasta company so they decided to put that to use.
"As a result and working with the war effort, they did some of the machining of this new plastic polymer shapes in their machine shop and at the same time, they were looking to innovate and get into something new and they thought, you know what, this new polymer industry is probably going to grow," Sabuda said.
And they were right. They left the pasta industry completely and are now distributing their products to more than 50 different markets.
Celebrating 75 years in business this year, the company's president Abdul Sarac said it is that ability to continually innovate that keeps the company competitive.
What is next for Curbell, Inc.? Sarac said more innovation.
"As a company, we consistently over the years grew by adopting a very opportunistic spirit and that is still alive," Sarac said.
New products are on the horizon but they are not willing to discuss them just yet.
But we can probably assume, with a track record of pasta to plastics and pillow speakers, the sky is the limit for what is next.