Chris' Ideal Sharpening, formerly of Breezy Point, is now located between Pine River and Backus.
Chris Wohlers moved the business several months ago for simple reasons.
“Breezy Point was just too busy. My back yard was right on County Road 4,” Wohlers said.
Wohlers is the latest owner of the business that started with Dave Barry in Ideal Corners in the 1990s. He retired and sold it to a man in the Pequot Lakes area. In 2008, Wohlers was looking for a different job, as contractor work at that time was slow. He bought the business and all of its equipment.
“It was an opportunity for me to find something else to do,” Wohlers said. “In a way, sharpening is a dying art. There aren't a lot of people doing it. I don't have a lot of competition.”
Wohlers sharpens almost anything from knives to mower blades, carbide saws, drill bits, planer blades and farm equipment, among many other items. Some of his customers come to him, but for others, he has a route every Tuesday to pick up blades and bring them back to his shop to sharpen. He visits 40 regulars and drives more than 200 miles from his shop to Hackensack, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Brainerd, Pillager, Deerwood, Crosby, Aitkin, Emily, Outing, Fifty Lakes and Crosslake.
Customers include Trussworthy Components, Northern Sales and Manufacturing, Scamp and Mann Lake, as well as several restaurants. He doesn't do mobile sharpening with exception of kitchen knives.
“I sharpen a little of everything and anything,” Wohlers said. “I have 30 different grinders here in the shop that all do something different. A lot of machines are specific to certain things.”
A job well done is important to Wohlers, and that's what keeps him in business.
“Sharpening is like horseshoes and hand grenades. It's either sharp or it's not. Close doesn't count. They gotta be sharp sharp,” Wohlers said.
Wohlers said his most abundant jobs are carbide saw blades. They are also his biggest money maker.
Wohlers likes his shop's new location.
“The move has been good for me. It's a lot quieter and I like it,” he said.
Unfortunately, some customers think he is now in the middle of nowhere. He encourages those same customers to come check out his new location. Turn west on 14th Street and go past Schrupp Excavating, turn right on 16th Street and look for Wohlers' van a half mile on the right.