Mill Supply Division, Hamden, CT, is a major player in the custom window coverings business because of the vision and excellence of Al Tannenbaum, president and CEO. Tannenbaum will be honored this year for 50 years in the business in a celebration organized by his sons, Lee Tannenbaum, vice president of sales, and Ross Tannenbaum, vice president of operations.
“My father has based his business for 50 years on the importance
of service and one-to-one contact with customers, and the business
will always be run on these principles—dealers can count on
that,” says Lee.
“Our dad hasn’t just been in the business for 50 years,
he’s been an important part of this industry for this half
century,” says Ross. All undertakings at Mill Supply, whether
it’s product addition or Mill Supply’s ever-evolving Focus
dealer training series, are looked upon with pride in ownership
by Al Tannenbaum himself.
Mill Supply Division has been in business for 33 years and a full-line
Hunter Douglas fabricator since 1995. In an honor few can claim,
the company has been the fastest-growing Hunter Douglas fabricator
for all but one of the past eight years. What’s more, Mill
Supply was one of two fabricators to win the top prize—a Lexus
SC 430—in the “Silhouette®. A Celebration of Style.”
FROM STUDENT TO CORPORATE OFFICER
Al Tannenbaum began in the industry fresh out of school. Having
earned a bachelor’s of arts degree from Lehigh University in
Bethlehem, PA, he was a graduate student in history at New York
University when he began to work for the window shade company of
Weiss and Klau in New York City.
He then moved to Clopay, a window shade distributor and maker of
vinyl upholstery and doors. He was named Salesperson of the Year
in 1967, the only time such a distinction was awarded by the company
to an employee and only a year after he had begun working there.
“He worked hard,” said Lee. “He even had to fly home
in a snowstorm from Burlington, VT, where he was on a call, right
before I was born.”
The following year, Al Tannenbaum moved to The Halsey Themper Co.
and took this small retail establishment that sold window shades
and screen doors and transformed it to create the Mill Supply Division,
a leading wholesale fabricator and distributor of custom window
coverings. Tannenbaum became a partner and subsequently president
and CEO of what became Halsey Themper/Mill Supply.
“The company has grown substantially since its beginnings,”
said Lee. “At one point we only had three salespeople, and
now we have a sales force of 12 and manufacturing facilities in
Randolph, MA, as well as at our headquarters in Hamden. And, we
see more growth and success ahead based on my father’s core
beliefs and values.”
Al Tannenbaum, above all else, is a family man. His free time is
spent traveling the globe with Natalie, his wife of 47 years. Besides
their two sons, Al and Natalie have five grandchildren. Balancing
his family life with his ever-growing business has been a fulfilling
endeavor to say the least.
“We’re going to have to do a lot in the next 50 years,
if we hope to come close to what we’ve done in the last half
century,” says Lee Tannenbaum.