Imagine being in the middle of open-heart surgery, and the power suddenly goes out. It sounds like a deadly situation, but it doesn’t need to be – at least not with a powerful back-up generator installed.
Gillette Generators is in the business of keeping business (and, like in the case above, hearts) running. The company, which introduced its first generator in the early 1960s, prides itself on keeping things alive: from people in hospitals, nursing homes, and high-rise apartment buildings to chickens, cows, and – most recently – cannabis plants.
Gillette’s roots are in small, portable generators that could be thrown in the back of a truck. They soon started creating agriculture-related and residential standby generators that could provide power in the case of an outage.
But just like with toasters, dishwashers, vacuums, and other small appliances, China soon took over a large share of the portable generator market.
So, Gillette shifted focus to the machines that factories in China could not automate – like the industrial 800kW generators built with specific design specifications.
“Commodity markets change and flex, and we roll with it,” Owner Charlie Habic said.
Gillette Generators now offers about 80 products, which includes machines that help power police departments, fire departments, and even a few military operations. However, Gillette specializes in the private commercial industry like nursing homes and high-rise towers.
When Habic travels to New York City for business, he likes to find one of the highest windows in a building and look down at the other rooftops.
“It’s so satisfying looking out of the hotel room window and seeing a Gillette Generator sprinkled in with the really big-name brands,” he said.
He’s also proud of where the company started. Habic’s father, who pulled himself up by his bootstraps, bought the company in 1972. In 2013, after running the company for a few years already, Habic took every penny to his name and became the sole owner of the company.
He recalls many late nights walking through the warehouse just to count the inventory because that was his only equity. Those anxious times were worth it to Habic, who now owns a debt-free company that employees about 25 people.
“We’re an organic company from Elkhart, and we’re competing in the North American market against iconic corporate names,” he said. “We’ve played ball with these corporate entities for more than 50 years. That’s saying something because these companies have buying-potential galore, they’re tough markets to get into. But little Gillette, a family-owned business in Elkhart, we’ve beaten them for 50 years.”
Gillette Generators introduced its first generator in the early 1960s and has grown into a diversified company supplying standby and prime power generators into markets including wastewater, institutional, commercial, industrial, oil/gas, telecom, military and high-end residential. Gillette has three plans totaling 75,000 square feet on an industrial campus in Elkhart, the heartland of American manufacturing. Gillette produces natural gas/liquid propane gas and diesel-powered generators from 7.5kW to 800kW and feature only world-class components including PSI, John Deere, Volvo and Mitsubishi engines.
2921 Thorne Drive
Elkhart, IN 46514
“We’ve played ball with these corporate entities for more than 50 years. That’s saying something because these companies have buying-potential galore, they’re tough markets to get into. But little Gillette, a family-owned business in Elkhart, we’ve beaten them for 50 years.”