Spoiler, it was a fruit stand
"My grandfather used to sell Mcintosh apples out of this location" says Richard Grado. "Today we're polishing up the best headphones to use with your Macintosh computer".
Rich, VP of Business Development for Grado Labs, is talking about the family's former fruit market in Brooklyn, which is now headquarters for the respected audio manufacturer. The company is still family owned and operated by fathers and sons, uncles, aunts and in-laws.
Grado recently took the top spot on Consumer Reports' list of best headphones, beating out their better known rivals including Bose, Bose, Sennheiser and Shure. "Those are all great brands I suppose, but we don't use robots to mass produce our product." says Rich. "We use actual people, in America… with soldering irons".
Indeed, some of the employees who aren't named Grado have been with the company for more than twenty years. True to their fashionably unfashionable Brooklyn heritage, Grado's hand-crafted mahogany headphones look like relics of an earlier time. "We don't chase after style, we're all about the sound" says CEO John Grado, "Great sound is what our customers expect. Every so often the fashion comes back around to where we are."