Hidden inside an unassuming one-story beige building across the street from Western Beef on 2nd Street in Mineola is an unconventional family business, four generations in the making.
Nassau Chromium Plating Co. was founded in 1929, when the family patriarch, Frank Miltner, commuted through the potato fields that would eventually become Levittown and borrowed $1,000 at the height of the Great Depression to buy a small building, the same space where the business stands today.
“We now own the whole block,” owner and President Shirley Waring, 94, said. “But he bought just a small building.”
Miltner was Waring’s father. She inherited the business she grew up around and has brought her own family into it.
Now, Waring is joined by her son-in-law and Vice President Pasquale Martimucci and granddaughter and quality manager Kaycee Martimucci in continuing to expand Nassau Chromium Plating’s reach headed into its 90th year.
“People drive by here every day and have no idea what it is we do,” Kaycee Martimucci said. “But they’re welcome to come in and find out.”
Nassau Chrome, as she refers to it, is in the business of anodizing and electroplating. Anodizing is the process of adding an oxide, or protective, layer to the surface of mostly aluminum objects. Electroplating is the process of manipulating the electric currents of metals to form a thin coherent metal coating on the item being plated.
At one point, Kaycee Martimucci thought of pursuing a career in criminal justice while attending Rutgers University.
“They told me they’d sell the business if I didn’t come in,” she joked. Kaycee Martimucci gave the business a chance and has not looked back over the last 15 years, she said.
“I am proud of what we do,” she said. “We’re a woman-owned business, which is a big deal in a very male-dominated industry.
“I feel like it’s an artistry that is dying and I’m very proud of what we do and where we stand,” Kaycee Martimucci said.
Nassau Chrome is recognized by the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program, or NADCAP. The business has received the 24-month merit from NADCAP, the highest accreditation available, and was named one of the top electroplaters in the nation at one point.
“We are approved for plating all over the world,” Waring said.
Some of Nassau Chrome’s regular customers include GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, SpaceX and the United States Army and Navy. Despite all of the high-profile customers, the business dedicates equal efforts to personal projects, Kaycee Martimucci said.
Everything from automobile, hardware and marine restorations to housing fixtures is restored, she said.
“We have a lot of families come in where they have family heirlooms that they cannot restore; we do this type of delicate, intricate work,” she said.
Some of the company’s recent work includes chandeliers, Ferrari emblems, jet engine parts and even the MTV moon man awards.
“You name it, we do it,” Kaycee Martimucci said.
“We’re here to service the community as well as the aerospace industry,” she said. “However we process for aerospace, we use the same intricacy for someone’s automobile or silverware set.”
The family culture at Nassau Chromium has even made its way into the hearts of some of the unrelated workers at the 28-employee business.
“Our employees stay with us until they retire, then they retire, and then they come back again,” Waring said. “Because they like it here.”
Often employees will retire and receive their pension, leave and come back to work once they are above Social Security age, Pasquale Martimucci said.
“It’s hard to find experienced people here,” he said. “People don’t just come in off the street and start working this job. It takes some training and understanding.”
“We do train internally,” Kaycee Martimucci said. “We’re always welcoming new employees, especially from around the area.”
Moving forward into the business’ 90th year, they hope to draw more attention from the community but are proud of their ability to fly under the radar, she said.
“Even though we might not look as shiny and bright as a lot of these other places, what we do, we do well,” Kaycee Martimucci said. “We don’t have to show off.
“Our quality of product speaks for itself.”