H&B Elevators is a small business on its way up
By Cirien Saadeh | Staff Reporter
H&B Elevators is technically a small business, but its reach is anything but. Located in North Minneapolis, H&B makes and distributes elevators globally, from the tallest building in the world in Abu Dhabi to sports facilities like Yankee Stadium and US Bank Stadium. Situated at 3300 Washington Ave N, the elevator factory is owned by Jashan Eison who moved the business to North Minneapolis in 2013 after he took over as owner and CEO.
H&B Elevators was founded in the 1920s, but before it was known for elevators, it actually made weather siding and then manufactured goods for World War II. H&B became an elevator factory in the 1940s. The company’s focus is the construction of the cab, doors, panels, and siding, as well as minimal electrical work.
“Most of what we do is outside of the city and outside of the state. Some heavy pockets for us are places like Washington D.C. and Texas and Chicago and Seattle and California. That's where most of our work comes from. Our customers are folks like Kone, Otis Elevator, Thyssen Krupp Elevator,” said Eison, “And these are multinational organizations that we work with. So, I like to say from our little corner of north Minneapolis, we touch buildings and cities all over the country and the world.”
According to Eison, a quarter of H&B’s employees are Northsiders. But Eison recognizes that most Northsiders most likely don’t even know that the factory exists.
“We're starting to do some things now to introduce our company to the community and to have a more deliberate stake in the community. We have a very unique niche that most people don't know about, but part of the challenge when I bought the company was that it needed a turn around,” said Eison. “I tried to focus on that first rather than trying to promote first and fix later. We believe we've done that turn around and now we're just now trying to promote ourselves.”
Eison is also proud of the work culture he has helped to develop at H&B Elevators. He speaks about the open-door policy that he has with employees and his commitment to knowing everyone’s names, alongside the values-of diversity, respect, integrity, amongst others-that he and his staff promote. This includes community service. Eison serves on several local boards, and H&B will be participating in the City of Minneapolis’ October 5 Manufacturing Day. Students from local high schools will have the opportunity to visit companies like H&B to learn about manufacturing work.
“We're partnering with them to create kind of a day to promote ourselves, promote manufacturing to the community and to students and parents and teachers in the local high schools to give them a taste of manufacturing,” he said
“Most people think of manufacturing is dirty and, you know, it is, that has its place, but in manufacturing, you also have good jobs. There's some good career paths there. So, we're hoping that some students start to think that manufacturing could be a career path,” said Eison.