A Hunts Point-based manufacturer of heat exchange equipment is celebrating its 90th year as a family owned business – a relatively rare feat in an era of globalization.
At a time when it’s challenging to expand manufacturing in the United States, let alone in the city, Yula Corporation, a successful business run by the Feldman family, is celebrating nearly a century in business.
The company is the manufacturer of custom-made heat exchangers and other pressure tubes for industrial uses and large heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems.
Yula was founded in the Marble Hill community in 1926 by Henry Yula as a water heater maker, and gradually grew to encompass HVAC systems for some of the city’s iconic buildings built in the mid-20th century.
Eventually, the company expanded to service industrial customers, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, which comprises much of Yula’s business today.
It is now a third generation family company, with the cousins and brothers Jason, Matthew and Michael, all vice-presidents, working side-by-side with their fathers, company president Fred Feldman and Larry Feldman, chief financial officer.
“We are really proud of the 90-year (anniversary) and we are really celebrating that this year,” said Matthew Feldman.
Fred Feldman added that the area in the vicinity of their Hunts Point plant used to be called ‘Little Pittsburgh,’ and that they are one of few remaining businesses of its type located there.
“We are very proud that in one of the toughest manufacturing areas in the world…we are still able to run a successful manufacturing business,” said Fred Feldman, adding that it is difficult to do this in the United States, let alone in the Bronx.
Yula has about 25 employees in addition to the Feldman family, and operates a 20,000-square-foot factory space with adjacent offices on Bryant Avenue.
About 70% of the workforce is from the Bronx.
The Feldmans’ father and grandfather, Irwin Feldman, started at Yula in 1955 as an engineer, said Matthew Feldman.
“Irwin eventually purchased the business, risking it all,” he said. “That is when we moved out of the HVAC market into more sophisticated industries and really spread our wings.”
Besides serving the pharmaceutical industry, it generates about 20 percent of its revenue from its legacy HVAC business, with the balance coming from its custom heat exchangers, said Jason Feldman, vice-president.
“We definitely have a lot of New York pride,” said Michael Feldman, vice-president, who added that Yula always works with its customers to find custom solutions.
Michael Feldman said, “As a custom designer and fabricator we can always accommodate new and maybe unusual requests that someone may have, whereas someone else may have a cookie cutter design and cannot change it.”
The Bronx has always provided the firm with a relable employee base and the family expects to call the Bronx its home for many geneations to come,