American made toolmaker expands with grant assistance
By Terry Troy
We usually don’t get a lot of news from this corner of the state where Dean Martin grew up, so we thought it a nice way to start out the new year. Bully Tools of Steubenville is investing in a 60,000 square-foot expansion made possible with the support of a JobsOhio Grant.
Marketing its products as “100% Made in America” the company last year experienced a 20% growth in sales of its lawn, garden, farm, snow removal and other home products. Major customers include The Home Depot, Wal-Mart and True-Value among others.
The expansion will be used to accommodate increased production with the company that has built a reputation for advanced manufacturing procedures that include robotic welding, metal forming & stamping, plasma cutting, heat treating, tempering, injection molding, powder coating, product design, and more.
“I am excited and proud to announce that through the close working relationship with Ohio Southeast Economic Development and JobsOhio, the planned 60,000 square-feet expansion to the current facility will soon come to fruition,” said Mark Gracy, president and founder of Bully Tools. “Most importantly, this enables Bully Tools to maintain and keep its full operation in Ohio where we are proud to be celebrating our 25th year in operation.
“I feel we have new partners at the local level as well as in Columbus that are serious about retaining and expanding Ohio manufacturing jobs! Their cooperation, help, and expertise has been a blessing and a true sign of concern and enthusiasm for the future development of Jefferson County and its citizens. No doubt, this will help Bully Tools to grow for years to come.”
Bully Tools started out in a small 1,500 square foot building space in Pittsburgh, PA.
“I was involved in developing a unique shingle remover that I thought I could sell,” Macy said of his company’s founding. “My problem was I had little funding and no one to do the manufacturing.
“One baby step lead to another, there was a lot of trial and error, and I basically had to learn how to manufacture products without a playbook. Many long hours of work and sleepless nights but somehow I was able to survive another day. I had quit my job as a building inspector for the City of Pittsburgh and took my small life savings and rolled the dice. I couldn’t have done it with the support of my high school sweetheart, best friend and wife.”
In 2006, Bully Tools built a new factory in Steubenville about 35 miles west of Pittsburgh. Although it was a bittersweet move from Macy’s hometown, Pennsylvania’s tax structure, workers compensation program, utilities cost, and political climate where unfriendly to manufacturing. Ohio was very accommodating and helped finance the expansion with the promise of job creation. Bully Tools quickly exceeded its commitment and paid back the state’s previous help in eight years instead of 15.