Grindstone Sharpen & Supply takes knife sharpening where it’s needed.
➼ A Morgantown resident stopped cooking carrots because her knives were too dull to slice them. After Joe Woods sharpened her knives last summer, she posted a photo of her knife next to a pile of chopped carrots to his Facebook page, with an appreciative note.
“I’m out here trying to save dinner, one carrot at a time,” he laughs.
A trained chef, Woods’ time working in several higher-end restaurants across the state opened his eyes to certain needs. He established his mobile Grindstone Sharpen & Supply in 2018 to meet them.
One is the Morgantown area’s lack of a kitchen supply store. Mon County has more than 300 restaurants, but owners and operators have had to order online or drive to Pittsburgh for industrial cooking tools. Woods knew how tough it could be to schedule shopping trips. He decided to take the supply store to the kitchens.
Another frustration was the lack of knife sharpeners. “Everyone has knives in their kitchen that probably need to be sharpened,” Woods says. A dull knife requires more force and effort to use. “Sharp knives are so much safer.” Woods sharpens knives, scissors, garden tools, and other blades for $5 to $15, traveling within a one-hour radius of Morgantown to individual and business customers.
Commercial kitchens sometimes throw dull knives away rather than sharpening them, and Woods offers a solution for that, too. Businesses can lease sets of knives from Grindstone, and he swaps them out for sharpened sets every two weeks. Delis and grocery stores in particular use this service.
Whether he’s working with an individual, a local business, or a national chain, Woods gives his customers personal attention and advises them on the style of knife suitable and efficient for their particular cooking habits and needs.
To those who hand wash and dry knives after each use, prefer a chef-style blade, and care about West Virginia’s environment, Woods offers a handmade chef’s knife. In partnership with a West Virginian bladesmith who creates the eight-inch steel blades, Woods completes them with rosewood handles and donates proceeds to the nonprofit American Forests to plant trees on West Virginia abandoned mine lands.
He also carries the locally made Two Fat Cousins barbecue sauces and is expanding to offer more styles of handmade knives and other local kitchen products.
During Grindstone’s first year, Woods taught culinary arts at the Marion County Technical Center and ran his business part-time. Now growing demand has made Grindstone his full-time job. “I’m already at the point where I could use another truck,” he says. @grindstonewv
written by Aldona Bird