Just over 30 years ago, Kerry and Kim Buchenroth took a deep breath and expanded their part-time, one-room venture known as Buck’s Sharpening. The investments and expansions would continue, eventually becoming West Ohio Tool. The continuous evolution of the business signaled a commitment beyond sharpening mower blades, scissors and saw blades for local Amish cabinet makers to a much larger endeavor that would include a growing list of customers needing custom industrial cutting tools.
It was not a decision to be taken lightly. Kerry had survived hard times and lay-offs to be handpicked for a good position at the Honda Engine Anna Plant. Leaving the security of a steady-paying job took more than the vision he had, it took faith, conviction and no small amount of courage.
Anyone who’s ever embarked on such an undertaking knows there’s a lot on the line – securing a future and providing for one’s family. However, putting food on the table is tough when virtually every dime must be reinvested into the business.
“Most know my dad and mom (Kerry and Kim Buchenroth) started our cutting tool business 33 years ago. I watched many days that groceries were either stacked on credit cards or they went to bed hungry because starting the business took a lot of time and hard work, but also money,” said Kaci King, Kerry and Kim’s daughter and now West Ohio Tool CEO. “They went hungry, but as a child I did not. And I am grateful for never being hungry.”
Watching the sacrifice to succeed from Buchenroth’s instilled a strong sense of family and commitment to community. And now West Ohio Tool is continuing that commitment and giving back.
In September, West Ohio Tool connected with Feeding America, a national association that supports 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs throughout the country, including Logan County, Ohio, our company’s home. For every new product West Ohio Tool sells, 10 meals will go to those in need. By the end of November, West Ohio Tool had already donated the equivalent of 950 meals to Feeding America, and King says the program will be an ongoing effort to honor Kerry and Kim’s legacy of hard work and sacrifice and give back to a community that supported the business from the start.
Donating meals to fight local food insecurity is not the only avenue West Ohio Tool is pursuing to pay success forward. In addition to providing food for area families in need, the company is getting involved one-on-one, face-to-face with its neighbors. We encourage employee community involvement by providing up to two paid days off for employees to follow their passions for service and volunteerism, wherever that might take them – from coaching youth sports to beautification projects.
“I was also raised to believe that to give your time is far greater than money. It’s putting your feet to the fire. It’s giving a valuable resource that is far too easy not to give,” King said. “We are grateful to give our time to the food bank and are influenced deeply by Feeding America.”
West Ohio Tool employees will also provide manpower and volunteer hours to Friends Serving Friends food bank that helps local Logan County residents in need and organizes annual holiday meals.
West Ohio Tool today descends directly from the dedication and commitment to family, quality and community shown by Kerry and Kim all those years ago. It’s a commitment that does not stop at the shop door as the next generation continues the tradition by giving back and remembering their roots.