Ken Griffey has been in the knife business for the past 37 years and he’s not anywhere near getting ready to leave it. Griffey, president of Bear and Son Cutlery Inc., co-hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday for M&J Shipping, a 600 square foot building in front of Bear and Son that will be used for shipping purposes.
M&J Shipping are the initials of Griffey’s children, Matt, vice president of the corporation, and Jenny Haynes.
Red Etheredge, chairman of the Jacksonville Industrial Development Board, was one of several officials present. Etheredge thanked the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce for its support for what it
has been trying to do in Jacksonville.
“Everybody knows the quality of the workmanship of Bear,” he said.
Mayor Johnny Smith also thanked the chamber and said that for every job created in Jacksonville, one more person will be able to provide for his family.
Rep. Koven Brown was on hand and congratulated the Griffeys on their new addition as well as their recently formed relationship with Remington Outdoor.
“We’re very excited on the state level for all of this and especially to have Remington come to the South,” said Brown.
The company has grown, especially with the recent contract with Remington Outdoor, which will create about 10 new jobs. The shipping facility will bring in up to 40 new positions between now and next year. About 20 have already been hired. This brings the total number of employees to Bear and Son and M&J Shipping to about 92.
The younger Griffey said he’s been around knives since he was 3 and has collected them since a young age.
“My mother used to engrave knives at our home when we lived in Chattanooga,” he said. “She has her own engraving business, engraving knives, trophies, plaques and things like that, while my dad worked for a man in the wholesale and distribution of knives.”
Griffey’s mother, Sandy, is vice president of Bear and Son. She said she’s excited about everything that has happened and everything that is going to happen for the company and the city.
“I think the building really enables the employees to spread out and have a little more room,” said Ken Griffey. “It will help us keep everything just a little bit more organized and laid out so we can supply our customers more efficiently.”
The senior Griffey said he’s pleased with the expansion and is happy to be able to provide more jobs for Jacksonville.
“That’s what it’s all above,” he said. “Giving more jobs and more support for the community. It’s a big responsibility, but we’re happy to be able to do that.”
Bear and Son will have its annual knife sale the weekend before Thanksgiving. This year it falls on Nov. 21-23.