When Joe and Claire Strouse bought Hermance Machine Company, it was a small business, but it has grown into a force to be reckoned with.
"Since we have bought the company, it has grown leaps and bounds," Joe Strouse, co-owner, said.
His wife, Claire Strouse is the other owner of the business.
This customer drove all the way from Altoona to visit the Rockler, woodworking superstore. The store is located at 178 Campbell Street in Williamsport.
The company is primarily a distributor of industrial working machines. And Hermance also does a lot of repairs on those types of machines for companies too.
Its primary focus is selling machines to medium to large sized industrial companies that manufacture kitchen cabinets, commercial fixtures or architectural millwork such as doors, paneling and molding.
The company also sells equipment to some area high schools and universities.
The company has five salespeople that are out on the road to sell the machines, so Hermance distributes to other companies and businesses that are within a 250 mile radius.
"The business is based largely on service," Strouse said.
"Locally, John Savoy is one our biggest customers," Strouse said, referring to John Savoy and Son Inc. a company in Montoursville that makes furniture.
Strouse said his business is very similar in concept to an automobile business.
"We buy and stock, sell new, order new custom and have it shipped direct, also buy used, recondition used and sell used," Strouse commented.
The company also specializes in equipment refurbishing and offers a variety of quality used woodworking machines, according to its Web site.
Hermance Machine Company also offers a wide variety of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) machine parts and an in-house machine shop for emergency service.
"Our factory trained customer service representatives and technicians are among the best in the field," Strouse commented.
The company can serve customers' needs with plant layout, machine installation, start-up and any follow-up service that may be required.
Hermance has grown within the past year, by creating a Rockler store that is inside at its 178 Campbell Street Location.
Customers walk through a industrial woodworking showroom to get to the Rockler retail store which dubs itself the woodworking superstore.
"People that come in to buy small things, can also look at our industrial machines and so sometimes people come in to buy a hinge and they end up buying a saw," Strouse said. "The idea is a store within a store."
People from all over the area have visited Rockler to buy items they need for projects.
Strouse said it has been a challenge to get customers to understand there is a retail store on site so he has put up several billboards to bring people in to the store.
Hermance Machine Company has an active parts department that sells parts for industrial woodworking machinery all over the world.
"We have well trained people here that know the machines and they can find parts and that word gets out and we get more customers," Strouse said.
The company employs 28 people and also has interns throughout the different departments in the company. "We've been having interns for about 10 years," Strouse said.
Over the past few years, the company got away from manufacturing but is transitioning back in with a side company, Strouse Industrial. Joe and Claire's son, Matthew owns that company and has a patent pending on a custom design cutterhead.
Right now, Matt is doing work exclusively for Hermance Machine Company. "We do the marketing and the sales for his company so he can focus on the design and manufacturing," Strouse said. "We are looking to expand the manufacturing part of our business weather its with Strouse Industrial or its within Hermance Machine Company," Strouse said.
Strouse said the company also has a large Web presence that is really paying off for them.
"We are routinely selling things to people in other states," he said. "Even things that are made in places like Oregon and Washington."
The company was started by Albert Hermance in 1902 and when he died in 1913, Lou Monks gained ownership. When his son John was retirement age, Joe and Claire Strouse bought the company.
The couple was living in Pittsburgh before they bought the company but in July of 1987, they moved to Williamsport.
178 Campbell Street,
Or online at www.hermance.com