The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

October 26, 2013

Forging a new future

Wendell August rises from ashes, opens new home

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP — A day after witnessing a fire destroy his Grove City business 3 1/2  years ago, Will Knecht vividly remembers walking through the ruins with his insurance adjuster.

“He told me, ‘Be prepared to be out of business for nine months,’ ” said Knecht, president of Wendell August.

Unfazed, Knecht and his employees pulled together and within five days had the metal giftware company’s workshop up and running at a new location and its office operations established in two weeks. Help came from everywhere, workers, the community – even complete strangers.

“Western Pennsylvania is such an amazing place,’’ he said. “The people just wrapped their arms around us.’’

Standing in his company’s newly completed $8 million complex on Thursday in Springfield Township, Knecht watched as shoppers bought merchandise on this first day of the “soft’’ opening of the retail store. Comprising 52,000 square feet, the complex has all the company’s needs in one location – retail, production, offices and warehouse.

The retail store’s design has a combination of modern, vibrant colors with snazzy shelves but still keeps the company’s historical American look with woodwork throughout.

Designed by Jerry Herschman, a Cleveland architect and a Knecht friend, new ideas for the business were created within the design. In the back office everyone, save for the company’s chief financial officer, works in an open, cubicle-like environment – including Knecht.

“People were a little nervous about this,’’ Knecht acknowledged of office workers. “But we want to have a collaborative, collegial place to work in.’’

To compensate for the openness, several conference rooms were created where private discussions can be held. Other features in the office include TV monitors that will continually post financial and production numbers that the staff can see daily.

“We always want to be on top of what we’re doing,’’ Knecht said.

An area was created where employees can create displays and practice presentations for trade shows, which are vital for sales.

Text Only
Local News
  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • Dontae Rashad Pinkins Man arrested for April gunfight

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing changed in starving case

    The time and place for the preliminary hearing of a Greenville mom accused of starving and beating her 7-year-old young son has been changed.

    July 26, 2014

  • Schell working on mural Drawn to Mexico

    Jason Schell probably is not exaggerating when he says that millions of people have seen his art.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • Farrell man, 24, arrested on warrant in connection with April shooting

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April shootout in Sharon.

    Pinkins, 24, of Farrell, is in Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond on gun charges.

    Additional details to follow.

    July 25, 2014

  • Firm will study timing of traffic signals

    Hermitage commissioners on Wednesday hired Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP to study the timing scheme of traffic signals along parts of Hermitage Road and East State Street.

    July 25, 2014

  • 3 area fire depts. awarded grants

    Three area fire departments will share in more than $590,000 in grants meant to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced.

    July 25, 2014

  • One suspect in home shooting is jailed

    The first of three suspects police say were involved in an attempted robbery that ended in a shooting is in jail.

    July 25, 2014

  • Dancing kids K.I.D.S. day

    Hoping to reach children at just the right age, when they are old enough to understand but not past the point where it may be too late, Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission counselors held an “alternative activities” day at the courthouse Thursday, complete with music and dancing, hot dogs and treats, games and T-shirts.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Better security Grant available to boost security in district courts

    County officials are looking to quickly upgrade security systems in the five district judge offices, not due to an increase in risk, but because current systems are antiquated and there is a short window to apply for some financial help with the costs.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo