By Katie NussBaum, Business in Savannah
Dulany Industries Inc., one of the oldest privately owned and continually operated industrial corporations in the United States, has undergone its share of transitions and industry changes, but one thing that has remained the same is the company’s commitment to family and the community.
“I started with the company in 1995 and by 2000 it was pretty clear that we were in some serious trouble. The fertilizer business was never coming back,” said Reed Dulany, chairman and CEO of Dulany Industries on Wednesday as he outlined his company’s Savannah history at the quarterly Business in Savannah luncheon at the Savannah Morning News. The company began in 1897 as Southern States Phosphate and Fertilizer Company.
After exciting the fertilizer business in 2000, Dulany Industries was founded and now serves as the parent company for three wholly owned subsidiaries: Southern States Chemical, SeaGate Handling and SeaPoint Industrial Terminal Complex, the largest private industrial site at the Port of Savannah, which the company began work on in 2014.
The company now has successful operations in Savannah, Wilmington, N.C. and Norfolk, Va., but getting there wasn’t easy, Dulany said.
“We sold everything we could find to try and build up some cash,” he said recalling the company’s journey. “We literally shook the building and this building was built in 1902. So we shook it and literally got 30 trucks of material from the rafters to build up the cash… Things happen really fast when you have nowhere to go but up.”
The SeaPoint complex now houses six companies, four of which are not owned by Dulany Industries. The complex offers all the infrastructure the other companies need along with shared service agreements with Dulany.
“To me it’s the future of industrial sites,” he said of the East President Street location, which features a mile of deep-water frontage, dual-rail access into the port and infrastructure that includes a dock, utilities and a research and development facility.
Dulany is also a partner in Daniel Reed Hospitality, which operates a number of restaurants around Savannah, including Local 11Ten and The Public Kitchen and Bar, which is preparing for its own expansion into Atlanta next year, but no matter the endeavor, Dulany said it’s all about great people.
“We have a great group of people in all of our companies and obviously we would not be remotely where we are today if it weren’t for them,” he said.
“… These guys are extraordinary.”