Rooted in Family, Sowing Success

Superior Glove Works

Superior Glove Works is a renowned manufacturer and distributor of work gloves. Superior Glove remains rooted in family, and committed to community, despite widespread corporate trends of the opposite. The success of its business starts with family, continues with quality, and ends with community. President Tony Geng and Vice President Joe Geng believe this formula keeps the company grounded and ready to take on whatever the future holds.

Superior Glove began in 1910 and, in 1961, was purchased and renamed by Frank Geng (the father of Tony and Joe). Frank, who still comes into work every day, began the evolution of the company by tanning his own leather for the gloves, something that was extremely innovative for the time. It is that spirit of innovation that has led to the unmatched success of Superior Glove today.

As the years went on, the company began to move into new materials processing, believing diversity would set it apart from other glove providers. Frank Geng’s strides to increase the offerings of Superior Glove continued through his sons, and now the company provides some of the most varied glove offerings in the world. The company’s product range has increased exponentially, from just five styles in 1961, to over 2500 today.

The company’s massive product offering is bolstered by constant additions, upgrades and tailor-made gloves that are designed to fit the specific and changing needs of the industries it serves.
Tony Geng’s expertise in engineering and production and Joe Geng’s experience in sales and marketing have taken the next generation of this business to a new level. It’s hard to find family businesses which still exist, and it is even harder to find family businesses which are thriving, but the brothers firmly believe that the family bond keeps the company strong and focused. The two spoke, finishing each other’s sentences. “We both agree in the direction we want to go; the end point is clear. Sometimes we have different ideas on how to get to that end point, but we always agree on the overall vision.”

The business now houses its own production laboratory and testing facility, with customers that reach across North America and even as far as Europe. What was once a small, Canadian leather glove-maker is now a worldwide leader in the manufacturing and distribution of cut-resistant gloves. Serving thousands of customers across industries ranging from automotive to aerospace and from food processing to oil and gas, Superior Glove’s innovation, quality and cost effectiveness is unmatched. After speaking with the Geng brothers, it is clear that the company’s aim to keep the world’s workers safe through innovation and understanding is more than a goal; it’s a passion… and likely why they are on their way to becoming one of the world’s leading manufacturers and innovators in glove technology.

The success of the innovations of the company is unmatched, and this fact is no better illustrated than by the growth of its locations and staff. In the last two years, the business has grown from twenty Canadian manufacturing staff to around 120. It now operates two major manufacturing facilities in Canada and has the recent addition of a new warehouse and production facility in Buffalo, New York. Superior Glove has strong expectations for further international expansion as a result of increasingly high demand across the world for its products.

Superior Glove products help companies save money but, most importantly, the gloves help people stay safe, something the team sees as priceless. Superior Glove is most widely known for its developments in cut-resistant glove technologies, which prevent hand and arm injuries in employees working with heavy-duty equipment.

The value of Superior Glove’s designs lies in the ability to limit and prevent workplace injury, an occurrence that is devastating to the employee and costly to the employer. Although hand injuries do not represent the largest portion of lost-time injuries, they do represent the injuries that are most preventable. Therefore, for the relatively low cost of the right pair of gloves, companies can vastly reduce the number of injuries and the cost of those injuries.

With the use of Superior Glove products, one oil company was able to reduce overall hand injuries from an average of four per month to zero. This not only ensured an overall heightened level of safety for the employees, but actually saved 45% on glove costs. It had previously been spending between $2,000 and $3,000 per month on gloves that initially appeared cheaper but due to inferior quality would wear out far faster.

Superior Glove’s innovative approach to glove making has driven the success, but the traditional family and community values are what really set the company apart. Tony Geng emphasises, “Because we are a family together, we view our employees as part of our extended family. We really value family and community involvement”.

The company has taken a proactive approach to connecting and interacting with the surrounding community. The company is a major player in the local economies where its manufacturing facilities are located, creating jobs and a channelling a consistent stream of revenue into the Newfoundland community in particular. Superior Glove is extremely active in the development of the surrounding community, believing the support of its close-knit community makes it a force to be reckoned with.

As a family business with a history in the area of Acton, Ontario (the location of its Head Office), the Geng brothers feel personally committed to this since it is the place they were raised and where they now raise their own families. As a result, the company is involved in a number of projects that benefit the surrounding area.

It has sponsored several community projects such the construction of a local playground and, more recently, a splash pad – a playground of water features. The company even morphs its Point Leamington Newfoundland factory into a drive-in movie theatre each summer – the only drive-in movie theatre on the entire island. Movies are projected onto the outside wall of the manufacturing building, allowing local residents to pull up and watch movies free of cost. Because of its location, residents can even “boat” in to watch the movies!

The Gengs believe the current and future success of the company is inalienably linked to the support of the community that started its success and it is a community the two feel privileged to be a part of.

Superior Glove offers a refreshing picture of just how good things can be when a company not only accepts but also embraces its local community. While many manufacturing companies were moving production overseas, Superior Glove endeavoured to keep a large portion of its work at home. Despite the lure of overseas production, Superior Glove has even expanded manufacturing in Eastern Canada, and more recently into the U.S., ensuring that large portions of its products are created in North America. The company strongly believes in remaining faithful to its roots at home, and this commitment has worked in its favour as seen by its ever-increasing number of locations and employees across Canada.

Superior Glove’s track record of success shows no signs of slowing. Two-time recipients of Canada’s Best Managed Award in 2012 and 2013, the wins attest to the business’ superior management and company culture. These awards come in addition to other recent international award wins for product styles, design and innovation.

It is no surprise that Superior Glove’s long list of satisfied customers includes some of the largest automotive and oil and gas companies in the world — and the list is growing, and growing fast.

The quality and product offerings of Superior Glove have made the company a tough act to follow, but the relationships at the heart of the business are more durable than its toughest cut-resistant gloves. With the creation of new facilities across the U.S. and Canada, and a massive intake of Canadian manufacturing staff, the only way is up.

October 17, 2018, 11:29 PM EDT