Hermance Machine Company has provided a large variety of quality new and used industrial equipment and machinery to the woodworking, composites and plastics industries for over 100 years.
Joseph G. Strouse, owner and president of the business located at 178 Campbell St., bought the building in 1987 when he relocated back to the area after working for a company in Pittsburgh.
"We are the best source for quality industrial machines for both professional, as well as amateur users," Strouse said. "We sell and service industrial woodworking machines, and we also have a retail store selling smaller tools and supplies to amateur woodworkers."
The business, which is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, has about 60,000 square feet of work and office space, with a machine shop used to manufacture a helical cutterhead available for moulders, planers and jointers. The one-of-a-kind cutterhead is designed by Strouse's son, Matt Strouse who is the business' industrial engineer, and has many different features and benefits, such as increased knife life, improved chip removal and reduced grain tearout.
"Hermance helical cutterhead knives are turned at an angle and tilted. Many spiral heads have the knives strike the wood at a 90 degree angle," Strouse said. "Only the Hermance heads cut with a true shearing action giving an incredibly smooth finish without needing special knives."
The machine shop is one of the main points of Strouse's business that sets them aside from everyone else in the industry, he said. The retail store also is a great asset to the business by allowing customers to purchase all the tools and supplies needed for their woodworking projects, making the business a one-stop-shop.
"We don't compete with importers of cheap tools," Strouse said. "We tend to sell only higher quality of tools here."
Hermance sells new machines and also takes used machines to trade and rebuild them, with the intent to sell them, according to Strouse.
"We provide service both in the field and in-house when people bring their machines here," Strouse said. "So, if you count them up, we probably have seven businesses here under one roof."
Strouse said business has been better this past year than prior years, but they are still down some from what they were three years ago. That won't stop them from continuing to improve services, though.
"We've been doing quite well recently, so we are continuing to do what we do well and improve upon it," Strouse said.
The business has an informational website - www.hermance.com - for people to use as a resource for machines, parts and supplies, according to Strouse.
"We have a vast library of on-line videos that people can see of machines being demonstrated," Strouse said. "A lot of those videos were shot here."
With many different parts to Strouse's business, he said it takes a knowledgeable and hardworking staff to make it successful.
"What is unique about Hermance is the knowledge of our employees, most of whom have been here for 10 or more years," Strouse said. "You can buy machines all over the world, but you can't always buy from knowledgeable people."
Hermance's staff is a sought-after source for good advice, according to Strouse. Customers enjoy the fair and honest treatment they receive, as well as the good value of their products.
"There's a lot of satisfaction in working in an interesting environment with employees who are all dedicated to their jobs," Strouse said. "This is a very complex business so no two days are ever the same."