In 1966, Ray and Betty Hayes, along with Ray's brother, Clay, opened a machine shop called Rayclay Manufacturing in a small garage in
Rochester, Michigan. They started out working part-time while maintaining other jobs. Clay was with the business a few months before
deciding to stay at his full-time job at Chrysler. Ray and Betty continued to work and build the business as a job-shop until it
eventually became a full-time endeavor. Soon, they were busy enough that their sons, Jeff and Jim, would work on a part-time basis to help them keep up.
In 1973, Ray and Betty sold Rayclay Manufacturing to their sons, Jeff and Jim, and Hayes Manufacturing was born.
They decided they wanted to move their families out of the city and bought property for the construction of a new building in
the small town of Manton in Northern Michigan. Along with their wives, Carol and Marilyn, the brothers dug the footings for t
he building in the spring of 1972, and were open for business in June of 1973 as only the second business in the R.W. Harris Industrial Park.
In 1981, business was slow and Jeff was making cold calls looking for work from a steel supplier's customer list. One
of the few people who took his call was Mr. Wilde of Wilde Manufacturing. He did not have any 'part' work but he was having
trouble with a shaft coupling on a pickle harvester and wondered if Jeff knew of a coupling manufacturer that had a better product.
Jeff had Mr.
Wilde send him the coupling and the brothers went to work on a new and improved coupling design for Wilde's pickle harvester.
They sent the new model to them for testing. Six months later, Wilde Manufacturing sent an order for a quantity of 500 and the
Hayes brothers were in the coupling business.
Because of this initial experience, Jeff and Jim knew there were many opportunities in the power transmission field and
began designing, manufacturing, and patenting many of their new designs for aluminum (shaft-to-shaft) couplings, splined adapters
and, finally, flywheel couplings. Soon, Hayes Manufacturing was no longer a job shop - they had their own product line.
As the business grew, they needed more space for new production machinery to keep up with the orders. In the fall of 1990,
they moved the business from the small shop in Manton to a new plant situated on 29 acres in Fife Lake, Michigan. Without space
issues, the business was free to grow with new and improved flywheel coupling designs, engine housing kits, bearing-supported stub
shaft assemblies, specialized engineering services and custom machining. The additional product-lines helped further the 'Hayes'
name in the power transmission industry and broadened the customer base.
After a few years at the new plant, it became obvious that it was time to expand the manufacturing space again. In 1994, a
4,000 square foot addition was constructed to accommodate the large inventory that needed to be maintained for on-time deliveries.
The million dollars spent on new machinery to fill up the new space brought Hayes squarely into the modern age of manufacturing.
1995, the Hayes brothers split the company stock four ways: 25% to Jeff, 25% to his wife Carol, 25% to Jim and 25% to his wife,
Marilyn. The brothers wanted to acknowledge the fact that their wives were every bit as essential to the success of the business
as they were.
In 2000, Michael Lawson joined the company as Chief Engineer. His enthusiasm and positive attitude helped temper our nervous
excitement about what the future was to bring: more growth!
At the end of 2004, Hayes had more product than ever before and not enough room to productively stock and store it. A 7,200
square-foot warehouse was built to take care of the storage issues and also to serve as an extra assembly area.
Now Hayes Manufacturing is concentrating on a number of new product lines to complement their current products. At the request
of many customers who prefer a "one-stop shopping" approach to buying couplings, Hayes has introduced a new 'HEX-FLX' nylon
coupling, an L-series jaw coupling,
engine and motor adapters, S.A.E. stub shafts, driveshaft couplings to test diesel engines and an updated (service-friendly) jaw coupling.
Over the years, Hayes Manufacturing has endured many ups and downs. Many family members have worked for the company over
the years and many still do. Holly (Jeff and Carol's daughter) has been working for Hayes since 1980 and is the Production
Control Manager, Marie (Jim and Marilyn's daughter) joined Hayes in 1993 and is the Shipping Manager, Penny (the 2nd of Jeff
and Carol's three daughters) has been working in Customer Service since 1999, and Grandma Betty still makes the coffee every morning.
In January of 2007, the Hayes brothers split the stock to transfer majority ownership to their wives: 24.4% to Jeff, 25.6% to his wife Carol, 24.4% to Jim and 25.6% to his wife, Marilyn. The brothers wanted to acknowledge the fact that their wives were as essential to the success of the business as they were. This transfer allows Hayes to be registered as "A Woman-Owned, Small Business."
The evolution of Hayes from a small garage to a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility is nothing short of an American
success story. The company has come a long way and has the potential to go much further.