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C.W. Hayden Company History

Trout, and catching that elusive game fish is where it all began. C W “Win” Hayden had a passion for trout fishing but couldn’t afford the hand tied flies to bring them in so he began to tie his own. They performed so well that he ultimately began selling them to the people that could afford to buy them, the business barons and mill owners of the day, and Lake Auburn Fly company was born. It grew so well he had as many as six ladies tying flies to keep up with demand. In the late 20’s into the ‘40’s Win’s customer base grew fostering friendships that formed into weekend gatherings at his new camp where those gathered enjoyed his cooking, his scotch and a joke or two. Or was that a scotch or two.

One evening a guest was complaining that he was having a difficult time sourcing a type of cordage for his business asking Win if one of his thread suppliers might have it available-turns out he did-and this fellow placed a large order for some. Word got around and other mill owners began buying cordage then waterproof paper, paper tags, envelopes and about anything they could buy from their friend Win Hayden.

But Win Hayden had a decision to make, it was 1947 and the mills were busy, would he continue manufacturing and selling hand tied trout and salmon flies or would he move into the business of wholesale paper distribution? It was a difficult decision but since selling flies was a seasonal proposition and paper supplies were needed year ‘round, he decided to let the ladies go and commit full attention to paper. In 1948 CW Hayden Company was incorporated and opened their doors in Auburn’s Cushman Building, at the time the largest shoe manufacturing facility under one roof in the world.

When his older son George left the Army in 1956 he began working for the company too, discovering the paper industry and a need for something eventually called re-pulpable tape. Working with a new vendor, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, George helped develop new pressure sensitive tapes for splicing and roll closure that could be recycled back into the ‘broke’ so the fiber didn’t have to be wasted. It began a successful and lifelong avocation for George. Win’s younger son Tom joined the company in the ‘70’s with a woodworking background allowing the company to expand into coated abrasive sales from that same vendor now known simply as 3M Company. Win’s grandson John started working for the company in 1978 developing the metal working and Marine industries in Maine and New Hampshire. Another grandson, Chris joined the company in 1980 and was placed in the eastern part of the state to call on the combined opportunities there.

Today, Win and George have long passed and Tom retired to the Florida sunshine, and the company has grown, expanded and moved several times. John was for President for 20 years 

guiding the company into new opportunities and expanding our presence throughout the United States and overseas. In October of 2015 the board of directors agreed to have Dave Crowell take over as President & CEO to be the first non-family member to lead the company.  Dave brings with him over 23 years of experience in Industrial supply including the last 14 years with CW Hayden.   Running a business has become a much more complex endeavor these days and with new management in position the basic principles of the founders carry on.

 But we still must wonder, what would have happened if Win had decided differently back in 1947?

CW "Win" Hayden
John Hayden, Chris Hayden, Wink Hayden
C.W. Hayden Origional Sign
Quality Products and Outstanding Service Since 1948!