Yankee Remodeler honored with New London business award

New London — It has grown and prospered in the city for more than 45 years.

Yankee Remodeler is not only an example of a business with longevity but a company that has made significant contributions in time and donations to nonprofits, said Deborah Donovan, a member of the city’s Economic Development Commission.

Donovan and other members of the commission, along with Mayor Michael Passero, last week visited the offices of Yankee Remodeler to honor employees with its second Business Appreciation Award of the year. The award is aimed at honoring local businesses that have made a difference and “are part of the fabric of New London,” Donovan said.

“This company is one of the stars of the small business community in New London,” Donovan said.

Pezzello Bros. Fruit & Produce of New London was honored earlier this year.

Yankee Remodeler President Karl Bagwell attributes the company’s longevity to a “culture of honesty, integrity, customer service and hard work first instilled by Harry Mantzaris.”

Mantzaris and the late Fred Bolles founded the company in 1971 as a remodeling and painting business in a three-family home on Huntington Street. Bagwell has worked for the company for 37 years and took over the business in 2008. Mantzaris retired in 2016.

The company started with a focus on residential customers and later expanded into light commercial and industrial projects, moving at one point to Amity Street. In 1986 the company relocated to 95 Truman St., a former auto body shop, where it has remained and expanded.

With more than 18,000 projects under its belt, Yankee Remodeler now employs 32 people and last year exceeded $5.5 million in revenue. Bagwell said it is a testament to a commitment to quality craftsmanship and superior customer service that the company has numerous repeat customers, some of them multi-generational.

Many of its employees have worked at the company for more than two decades.

While much of the company’s work is completed out in the field, it also has managed to stay on the cutting edge of technology.

With the buzz of a router blade in the background, shop supervisor Mike Mahoney — he has been with the company for 28 years — leaned over a computer screen and explained the benefits of a machine that not only can create 3-D images of a project, but also use the rendering to cut plywood with surgical precision to create everything from a bookshelf to cabinet pieces in a matter of minutes.

The machine is a called a computer numerical control router and has significantly cut down on waste and work hours, Mahoney said.

Along with many residential customers, Yankee Remodeler has worked for area giants such as Electric Boat, Pfizer, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital and Coca-Cola.

Bagwell himself started as a carpenter with the company in 1980, fresh out of Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School, part of the first graduating class of a school that is now known as Ella T. Grasso Technical High School

Bagwell later obtained a degree in industrial management and came back to work for Yankee Remodeler as an estimator.

The company does everything from custom kitchens, bathrooms and cabinetry to whole home renovations, decks and millwork. Yankee Remodeler was awarded 2015 “Remodeler of the Year” by the Builders Association of Eastern Connecticut.

Two employees of the company volunteer teaching time to the Norwich Technical High School carpentry program. In addition to donating to local schools and churches — 30 organizations in all — it sponsors one employee, Gregg Sajkowicz, who races a car at the Waterford Speedbowl.

g.smith@theday.com

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