J.O. Wolf Tool and Die Expanding in Huntington

December 10th, 2014

News Coverage:

J.O. Wolf Tool and Die moving to former Huntington Electric building

Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 3:00 pm | Updated: 3:22 pm, Wed Dec 10, 2014.

By Lucas Bechtol lbechtol@h-ponline.com

J.O. Wolf Tool and Die announced Wednesday afternoon it is moving into the former Huntington Electric building, located at 550 Condit St.

The move will officially take place in mid-January, co-owner Keith Miller said. The tool and die shop will be complete and running within about a week of the move, he said.

"We design and build plastic projection mold, factory fixtures...and we do some small production run and we also do some medical work, we make tooling that holds the part on the machine," he said.

They also have developed a unique part, called a "short support," that goes on lathes and is used more for prototyping than for production, Miller said.

That part, which Miller said is patented, will be the companys "bread and butter" for the next several years.

The move is overdue, he said, as around five years ago the business grew to the point where "we were busting our seams where we were out in Roanoke."

"We got prices to add on and that's when the economy really took dump, so we put it on hold," Miller said.

They added a few new machines since then, he added, and got to a point where they looked at expansion again, but found the prices were actually higher.

"We started looking around with Mark's (Wickersham, executive director of Huntington County Economic Development,) help and he got us connected with this building and here we are today," Miller said.

Wickersham said the space is around 15,000 square feet, an improvement over the former building's 4,800 square feet.

Jim "J.O." Wolf, co-owner of the business, said he started the business out of a small out building in an area 24 feet deep and 12 feet wide.

He had limited equipment, including a small lathe, a milling machine, a cut off saw and a torch.

"I didn't even have a drill press," Wolf said. "It's interesting what you can do if you have to."

Wickersham said J.O Wolf Tool and Die will retain six employees and hire two new ones.

Wickersham said this is the 70th project to come to Huntington since he took over economic development.

He added this kind of project is important.

"We've heard this as a priority from the community and the county over the years to do everything we can reasonably do to redevelop existing facilities that are otherwise vacant," Wickersham said. "This is a great example of a building that has been vacant for a couple of years that continues to have that kind of opportunity to be redeveloped and redeployed."

Huntington City Mayor Brooks Fetters said J.O. Wolf Tool and Die's commitment to excellence and professionalism is apparent.

He said this situation reminded him of something his grandfather said: "Take what you have and make what you want."

"You don't always have to have the newest stuff, the latest gadget. Use your ingenuity, use what's available and make things happen," Fetters said. "It speaks to the passion that you have to move forward in making products that are beneficial to others."

Huntington County Commissioner Tom Wall said he knows people employed at J.O. Wolf Tool and Die.

"I want to see you grow, I hope you outgrow this building and move on," he said. "Someone had the vision 35 years ago and this is not the first machine shop I've seen grow and expand and do great things for the community."

Wickersham said J.O. Wolf Tool and Die is completely moving out of its current building in Roanoke, but the town sees it as a good thing, with members of the community already thinking it could be an opportunity for growth in other areas.