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April 5, 2023

Maine manufacturer sees biggest year yet with FY23 orders

stadium seats Courtesy / Hussey Seating Co. Newly installed Quattro seats by Hussey Seating Co. are seen at the American Airlines Center, a multi-purpose indoor arena in downtown Dallas.

North Berwick-based Hussey Seating Co. said FY23 was its largest sales total yet in the company’s 188-year history.

Hussey, which designs and manufactures spectator seating, set new records in terms of dollar value and total units sold during its fiscal year ending March 31, according to a news release.

“It’s been exciting to see the company’s momentum grow over the past several years,” said Sean O’Leary, vice president of sales and marketing.

The company achieved record sales in four of the past six years, although it declined to cite dollar figures. According to the news release, incoming orders for fiscal year 2023 increased by approximately 31% compared to the previous fiscal year. 

The growth has come from the K-12 education market and collegiate and professional venues.

Hussey also reported record revenue of $100 million for FY17.

By March 2020, the company had contracts that represented more than 100% growth in the professional sports venues market alone, with each project having a contract value between $5 million and $15 million, O’Leary told Mainebiz at the time.

In 2022, Hussey sold off its Clarin portable chair line to focus on growing its telescopic and fixed seating business, which hit double-digit sales increases in 2020 and 2021. 

Sales year-to-date through the end of the third quarter of 2022 were up 25% over 2021. 

 “Our advanced manufacturing facility, along with the expansion of our computer-aided manufacturing capabilities, has greatly increased our capacity and quality in our telescopic line of products,” said Gary Merrill, Hussey’s CEO. 

The computer-aided manufacturing process uses software to generate a set of instructions that tells machinery how to cut or shape the material to produce the final product. Manufacturing machines then use the information to automatically produce the product precisely and efficiently.

Hussey’s seating systems can include tens of thousands of seats. An NFL stadium has 60,000 to 80,000 seats and a typical Major League Baseball ballpark has approximately 45,000 seats. NBA and NHL seating is around 15,000 to 20,000 seats.

Earlier this year, the city of Worcester, Mass., chose Hussey for a project estimated at $7 million to replace all 12,000 seats at the DCU Center, a downtown indoor arena and convention center complex. 

In recent years, Hussey was contracted to replace approximately 12,000 telescopic seats in the Alamodome, a multi-purpose stadium in San Antonio that has 64,000 total seats. 

“We believe the 12,000 telescopic seats in the Alamodome are the largest telescopic system in North America,” Jason Lavigne Sr., Hussey’s communications specialist, told Mainebiz.

Another project on tap is the replacement of  20,000 seats in the American Airlines Center, a multi-purpose indoor arena in downtown Dallas.

In response to demand, “Hussey Seating Co. has been hiring fervently over the past several quarters to increase manufacturing, engineering and administrative staff needed to meet demand,” said Lavigne. 

The company plans to continue hiring while concurrently training and developing employees through apprenticeship and leadership development programs, he added.

Hussey is one of the nation's largest seating manufacturers. The company’s roots go back to 1835, when North Berwick farmer William Hussey designed a more efficient plow blade. His grandsons focused on steel products such as fire escapes, bridge supports and ski lifts.

In 1931, Philip Hussey Sr. invented a portable bleacher for outdoor use, then adapted the design for indoor telescopic gym seating when the 1950s baby boom escalated new school and gymnasium construction. Numerous developments in design, engineering, materials and process ensued.

Hussey has been a leader in the education market for generations, thanks in large part to its network of deals that provide local sales and service to K-12 schools.

In recent years, the company has also seen rapid growth in its major projects division, which serves the college and professional venue markets. Major projects over the past year include American Airlines Center, home to the NBA Dallas Mavericks and NHL Dallas Stars; Budweiser Event Center in Loveland, Colo.; DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.; House of Blue in Dallas; Moda Center, home to the NBA Portland (Ore.) Trailblazers; and Progressive Field, Home to MLB’s Cleveland Guardians.

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