50-year York County construction company’s closure: ‘It was a bittersweet day for all of us’

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The Yorktowne Hotel, left, is one of the projects Emigsville’s now-closed HAFA Construction listed on its resume of work performed on historic buildings. Here, the Yorktowne is seen, next to the old York County Courthouse, from the roof of the new York County Judicial Center in this 2004 York Daily Record/Sunday News file photo. That’s York County employee George Meshew, in foreground atop the judicial center, pointing out that the seven-story judicial center is higher than the Yorktowne, if you don’t count the hotel’s flag pole. Also of interest: Roundtown in Manchester Township, York County, Pa.? Where did that come from? and ‘Skyscrapers’ have shaped York’s skyline since 1850 and Ten years ago, Emigsville’s mighty oak fell.

A York County business, known for its historic preservation, is closing its doors.

Emigsville’s HAFA Construction auctioned off its assets earlier this week.
“It was a bittersweet day for all of us,” Douglas Kauffman said. He was not personally involved in the family business but his older brother, mother and uncle were its mainstays.
Here are excerpts from an e-mail from Douglas, which also explain the origin of the company’s name:

In this time of economic down turns, I thought that it was news worthy that a company, HAFA Construction, which has been in operation for 50 years is closing up shop.
A few details. My father, Harold (aka Butch) Kauffman is a master carpenter who started learning his trade at the age of 19 at York Hoover, now York Casket, making caskets. His love of wood led him to open a lumber yard in Roundtown (Manchester Township) with his brother William Kauffman.
My parents, Harold and Faye Kauffman started the business in 1959, the year they got married. My father ran the business and my mother did the books and billing. The name HAFA came from the first two letters of each of their names.
My uncle, James Crone, started in 1962 as an apprentice under my father and learned the trade from the ground up. In 1987, my older brother, Craig Kauffman, started in the business and worked under my father and uncle to learn the trade. My brother stepped into the leadership position in 1989 when my father semi-retired.
Throughout HAFA’s years of operation it has completed many projects that have had an impact on the community. The windows in the old silk factory that is now the Hudson Park Towers, the restoration of the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church’s steeple millwork, renovations to the historic Yorktown Hotel, the renovating and building of homes, the hiring / mentoring of VOTECH students, involvement in the Emigsville Heritage Association and Troop 54 of Roundtown.

Douglas Kauffman could have added work on York’s Central Market on that list.
Manchester Township’s HAFA Construction joined fellow family business Heidler Roofing for the 1996 market work.
The H-team split up the job. Heidler replaced the slate roof and HAFA the wood and windows.
Interestingly, Heidler, an ongoing interstate business, began in 1959.
The presence of HAFA and other such preservations point to an underemphasized part of York County’s business scene today: Its many and varied historic structures provide work – specialty work – for an array of businesses.
HAFA’s 50 years in business attests to that.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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2 Responses to 50-year York County construction company’s closure: ‘It was a bittersweet day for all of us’

  1. I think that it is a great achievement by the HAFA Construction company as they been in this construction industry more than 50 years.Its sad to know that HAFA Construction is no more.
    Thanks,
    Portable Storage,
    http://www.moveablecubicle.com

  2. Debbie Frey says:

    In 1999 our pastor received a letter from Faye Kauffman sharing that the company had supplied the Boy Scouts of America with Rush Weave Stool Kits for their summer camping program. The kits were available at cost and was a product to keep their employees busy during the winter while supporting the youth.

    Realizing the scouts weren’t the only youth in the area, the letter shared that the kits were being made available to other groups in the community.

    The letter included assembling instructions, pictures etc. The cost for these well structured pieces with fibre rush woven seats were offered for $6.50.

    At that time they had 500 kits in stock.

    I find this offer amazing!! And, just finding this letter while going thru church files, I write wondering if the kits are still available or being offered since the close of the company. I realize it has been years ago, but it never hurts to ask.

    In Christ’s Service,
    Debbie Frey
    Dir. of Christian Education
    St. Matthew Lutheran Church
    839 West Market St.
    York, PA 17401
    dfrey@stmatt.org
    845-2721 Ext. 105

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