NORTH BERGEN, N.J.—Times have certainly changed in the 80 years Reliable Rubber & Plastic Machinery Co. has been in business, but the family leading it has been a steady constant during the ebbs and flows of the business.
Thomas and Joseph Liccardo III, both vice presidents and principals with the firm, represent the third generation of Reliable's rich heritage, which was founded in 1935 by their grandfather—Herman Single. A welder and machinist by trade, Single started the business out of his garage repairing rubber industry equipment for shops along the East Coast.
Tom Liccardo said there were times when a customer couldn't afford a repair job, so Single would take something as a trade-in allowance, which is how he began accumulating machinery and eventually branching out into sales.
“Back then business was very simple compared to what it is today,” said Tom Liccardo, who focuses on the sales and marketing side while his brother, Joe, runs the engineering and manufacturing end. “Eventually (my grandfather) started to accumulate and establish himself with used rubber machinery and inventory that he would sell with a warranty.”
Single's daughter Helga became involved with the business when she was in high school and is still the firm's president. Helga eventually married Tom and Joe Liccardo's father, Joseph Liccardo, who joined the business as well.
Tom Liccardo said while he doesn't have any children, his brother does, making it possible for a fourth generation to come through Reliable's ranks.