Long-lasting, Attractive Designs
Orange Fence & Supply Company, Inc. committed to old-school values
If you can dream it, Orange Fence & Supply Company, Inc. can build it. “They called my grandfather Rustic Tony because he would design and build rustic furniture, fences, tea houses and gazebos from native Eastern redcedar trees,” says President Roy Cuzzocreo. That innovative spirit has remained with the company through four generations. The family-owned company creates custom-designed fences, gates, arbors and pergolas for clients throughout Connecticut.
“We provide design services, installation and supplies to both residential and commercial customers,” Roy says. “We do everything from standard wooden privacy fences to sophisticated, wrought-iron, hydraulic-powered gates to chain-link security fences for commercial customers.”
Headquartered in the small town of Orange, Connecticut, Orange Fence & Supply Company has remained a fixture for 89 years along Boston Post Road, a historic corridor between New York and Boston. “We’ve been on this property since the company started in 1930,” Roy says. “My father and I both grew up here, and the family lived on the property until the 1980s. We only last year removed our original family home, which was 200 years old.”
Today, the property not only houses a wood mill and a welding and steel fabrication shop, but also a showroom and a supply house for do-it-yourself (DIY) customers. “We fabricate all of our wooden pickets right on-site and carry all the hardware needed for those who like to do their own installation,” Roy says.
Employees Are Family
When “Rustic Tony” started the business in 1930, he created horse fences and picket enclosures for the small farming community. “My grandmother, Lucy, assisted with the business as well,” Roy says.
After Tony and his wife retired and moved to California in 1958, their son, Joseph, moved back onto the property with his wife, Emma, and began expanding the company’s fence-making and installation capabilities, adding chain-link fencing to the mix. “While my father constructed fences, my mother took on the bookkeeping, as well as sold and loaded materials for ‘cash-and-carry customers’—all while raising four kids,” Roy says. “My wife, Stephanie, also does bookkeeping, just like my mother, and does sales and purchasing for the company—again, all while raising four kids!”
Roy recalls helping with the business from the time he was 8 years old onward. “After school and on Saturdays, I’d tag along on installations and help by raking and cleaning up job sites.” During the offseason in the winter, the company took on snowplowing jobs to stay busy. The family has also driven a school bus for Orange Public Schools for 59 years.
“We live in a town of about 14,000 people, and the school district is independently run. My dad would make the morning bus run while his workers loaded the truck. By the time he’d return, they were ready to go to the job site. He’d do the same in the afternoon,” Roy says. “I took over the bus route after my parents retired in the mid-90s. For years, customers would visit our shop and ask us why there’s a school bus on-site.”
In the busy season, Orange Fence & Supply Company has up to 35 team members, often working on 10 job sites at a time. To keep a core group of employees busy during the snowy months in Connecticut, the company added the mill and welding and fabrication shop.
“It doesn’t matter how long our employees have been with us—a few weeks or a few years—everyone who works for us becomes family,” Roy says. Some of Orange Fence & Supply Company’s installers have been with the company for 10 years or more. “One of our key guys, Dave Tilton, has been with us for 35 years. We’ve dug a lot of holes together over the years,” he adds. The company pays its employees a competitive rate. “As my dad taught me, you never fool around with another man’s money. I’ve been out there in the field digging holes, and I know how hard the work is. We are very protective of our installers and estimators.”
Roy admits to trying to talk his four children out of joining the business—just as his father did with him. “This is hard work, and it’s seasonal. You really have to manage your money right and squirrel nuts away for the winter.” Two of Roy’s children joined the business after college. David serves as Vice President and younger brother, Brian, is learning the business as an estimator and sales manager.
“This wasn’t the path I thought I’d take after college,” Roy says. “But I came to like the business more and more and decided it was something I wanted to do. We’re on a job site for an average of three days, and then it’s on to something new. I love the different types of projects we take on and I enjoy working with customers to design the best solution for their needs.”
Projects that ‘Feed the Soul’
Orange Fence & Supply Company is up for any challenge, according to Roy. “We recently designed and installed a 7,000-foot fence on a 20-acre property in New Canaan, Connecticut. The terrain was varied with the 8-foot-tall fence running up along a cliff with a 70-foot drop, through wetlands and up steep gradients,” Roy says. “Because the client didn’t want to enclose the pool, the fence not only had to keep out the deer, but also meet pool-regulation codes. It was the single, biggest residential backyard fence we’ve ever done and was a very cool project. Our bread-and-butter jobs keep the machines running, but projects like these feed the soul.”
Other noteworthy projects include those for nearby Yale University, Burris Logistics, Praxair (which has merged with Linde) and Bayer Pharmaceuticals.
“With Bayer Pharmaceuticals, we started with small chain-link enclosures for equipment,” Roy says. “When the company more than doubled the size of its campus, taking it from 60 to 150 acres, we installed several thousand feet of aluminum fencing around the property and designed sophisticated gate systems.”
During the 15 years it has worked with Yale University, Orange Fence & Supply Company has replaced 2 miles of 60-year-old chain-link fence with attractive wrought-iron fencing. “It’s a huge vote of confidence and trust in our company that customers call us time and time again,” Roy says. When Yale took over the Bayer property, establishing the Yale West Campus, the company continued to service and maintain the fence originally installed for Bayer.
For both Burris Logistics and Praxair, Orange Fence & Supply Company designed and installed security fencing and high-security entry gates. “At Burris, we provided security caging in their cold storage area,” Roy says. “In mid-June, our employees suited up in cold-weather gear and worked for 30 minutes at a time, taking frequent breaks to warm up.”
Another memorable project was in the presidential hangar at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut. “To secure the helicopter’s tools and spare parts, we constructed a 20-foot-high, chain-link security fence. Just to be allowed to work in the area, everyone had to have security clearances and undergo background checks,” Roy says.
Serving the Community
Orange Fence & Supply Company is proud to serve an active role in the town of Orange. Like his father did before him, Roy serves as one of the town’s police commissioners, and his wife, Stephanie, is a member of the Case Memorial Library Commission. “My grandmother, Lucy, was the first female town registrar back in the 1940s,” Roy adds. Near and dear to the family’s hearts is its involvement in the Special Olympics. “My brother, Joe, who works as a greeter at the company, is developmentally disabled. I remember in the early 1960s, my parents advocating in the capital of Hartford for programs and services to serve the needs of the special needs community,” he says.
When members of the community come calling, Orange Fence & Supply Company answers. “Every year there’s an Eagle Scout who needs help with a project. We’re happy to donate materials and supplies,” Roy says.
According to Roy, the secret to success over nearly eight decades comes down to good old-school values. “We care about our customers and take the time to understand their concerns,” he says. “If the whole point of a fence is to keep a three-pound dog from escaping from a backyard, that concern is carried down the line—from the initial call to the estimator to the installer, so we can make sure the bottom of that fence is shored up with no gaps.
“Orange Fence & Supply Company is the oldest, single-owned fence company in the state of Connecticut,” Roy says. “We have a tremendously talented, hard-working team of employees, and we are dedicated to creating long-lasting, attractive solutions that the customer will be happy with for years to come.”
With more than 20 years in the communications industry, Susan Diemont-Conwell works with companies, nonprofits and individuals to produce stories and publications that move and inspire.