September Small Business Startup: Grindstone Fabrications

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY BUSINESS
Chris Matthews, left, and Jeremy Kellogg own and operate Grindstone Fabrications in Clayton.

INITIAL IDEA

     Two lifelong friends and business owners in Jefferson County have joined forces to develop a business that can serve many different industries.

     In February of this year, Chris Matthews and Jeremy Kellogg of Clayton opened Grindstone Fabrications, Inc. (formerly DB Fabrications, Inc.), located on Route 12E in the town of Clayton. The business specializes in marine, commercial, and residential metal welding, fabrication and repair work.

     While brainstorming over the winter, the pair discussed buying the real estate side of a business that had been in operation for over 30 years, DB Fabrications, Inc., owned by Don Badour.

     “I said to Jeremy that this made a lot of sense, for us to get into the fabrication business with a combination of the businesses that he has and that I currently have,” Matthews said. “I manage Equipment Rentals in Watertown, so it made a lot of sense.”

     Over the course of three or four months they spoke with Mr. Badour, who they had known throughout the course of their lives, about their vision and interest in the business and agreed that if the pair wanted to buy the real estate they would purchase the business as well. 

THE JOURNEY

     Since the purchase and development of their brand Grindstone Fabrications, the business partners have been busy with work flowing in from existing customers and sparking new interest as well. Currently the pair is working with a local architect designing componentized floating structures and docks for the high water that flooded the shorelines of St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario residents. 

     “Acquiring a business that has been in business for 30 years makes it a lot easier; it was nice that he had a lot of work. He had a list of customers and we were able to piggy back off his reputation,” Matthews said. “I would say that he is watching his legacy continue. And we are excited and proud to represent that and we feel an obligation to continue that.”

TARGET CLIENTELE

     Grindstone Fabrications builds custom steel and iron parts and pieces for municipalities and local businesses, whether it is marinas, contractors, farms, they have seen them all.

     But the business isn’t only focusing on metal fabrication. In the back of the main office canvas sewing machines are running, creating custom canvas work. Initially the canvas business will be part of Grindstone Fabrications, but after they build the business it will branch off to make it its own, tentatively named Canvasbacks upholstery.

     “We wanted to take the steel manufacturing business and take it to another level and hopefully we are doing that already,” Kellogg said.

IN FIVE YEARS

     For the two friends and business partners the sky is the limit and they are focused on growth and development.

     “We want to expand the Grindstone Fabrications portion to another 4,000-square-foot building. A state of the art facility with sheet metal benders, a CNC machine, and grow it to another, probably, three or four employees for now and if it takes off from there, who knows?,” Kellogg said.  “The sky’s the limit for me!”

~Story by: Holly Boname