The Team at Superior Edge Keeps Its Services and Customer Satisfaction Razor Sharp
Writer / Amy Lant-Wenger
For John Whetstone and Merle Helmuth, their exemplary business model is always on point. And that’s not just a clever play on words, but rather a summary of their expertise and attention to detail – both driving factors for the success behind Superior Edge.
Superior Edge is tucked away in a rural stretch of countryside just east of Nappanee, and it is where folks can go for a range of services including sharpening, custom-created machinery bits, and precision tools.
The origins of the business stretch back to 2007, when Helmuth was operating a niche trade of general sharpening at his home-based workshop. His typical clientele consisted of walk-ins, seeking assistance with small-scale jobs like scissors and blades. Eventually, Helmuth invested in a manual grinder, which allowed him to design spiral bits. It wasn’t long before he realized that he not only had a talent for the work, but a growing passion as well.
Even so, there was a bit of a roadblock on this new career path. Helmuth was experiencing difficulty finding service outlets for the equipment he was using. To remedy this, and to provide a more exemplary caliber of service, Helmuth invested in a state-of-the-art machine called the Walter CNC grinder. With this newer, more sophisticated equipment, he was now poised to sharpen even more items and create intricate tools.
Helmuth soon found that he had the capabilities of designing more than 600 varieties of bits, with approximately 30% of those used on a daily basis, for various industries including recreational vehicles, woodworking and metalwork.
As the Superior Edge business landscape became more diversified, Helmuth realized the need for someone to join forces with him in an administrative and consultation role. Enter John Whetstone, the self-described “silent partner,” who came aboard in May of 2022.
Whetstone advises Helmuth on business strategies and fostering relationships with manufacturers and contractors. The partnership has been a tremendous boon for the increased profile of Superior Edge, with each of the men bringing their own unique skill sets to the business.
“Merle is the brains behind the operation,” says Whetstone.
His employment background in quality control translates well to Superior Edge, as he’s always thinking ahead to the next great challenge.
“We’d like to diversify and we’re also looking to expand into more of the medical field,” says Whetstone. “We have a lot of capacity around customizing and doing higher volumes of work.”
Moreover, the men are open to working outside of the general Nappanee area, typically offering service within a 50-mile radius. Recently, Superior Edge has added two full-time machinists to their company, and one part-time clerical employee. Helmuth and Whetstone are already planning ahead to find ways to enhance and expand their enterprise. They have contracted with a small-business coaching firm based out of Shipshewana, and in January they will be participating in the Midwest Tool Expo at The Michiana Event Center in the same city.
The ultimate goal? “We’re looking for a good, solid customer base, and we hope to continue to provide quality in customer service,” says Whetstone.
Those have been the unwavering principles since Superior Edge’s inception, and the team members are happy to say that their stellar reputation has been largely founded in word-of-mouth advertising.
To learn more about the services provided by Superior Edge, call Helmuth at 574-773-0331, or visit the shop at 25198 County Road 54 in Nappanee.