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High-end safety knife company relocating to Hobart

The new 26,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed by the end of the year

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June 1, 2023

HOBART – Founded in 1940 by E. Helmut Beermann, MARTOR has been making safety knives, cutters and scissors used in the workplace for more than eight decades.

The family-owned business is headquartered in Solingen, Germany, but has one location in the United States responsible for distribution – which currently resides in the Village of Howard.

The U.S.-based location, however, will soon have a new home, as a recent groundbreaking kicked off construction of a new 26,000-square-foot facility in the Village of Hobart.

With U.S. sales at approximately $17 million, Chrissy Gottfried, vice president of MARTOR USA said the company has been looking for about two years to find a new location after outgrowing its current 10,000-square-foot space in Howard.

“We have outgrown our current facility and are unable to expand,” she said. “We’re moving our entire facility there. We’ll have 26,000 square feet in the new building, with the capability to add an additional 10,000 square feet, if needed.”

The move to Hobart
Gottfried said there were a number of things that drew the company to Hobart, including being located near the highway. 

“The proximity to the highway is convenient for our truck traffic,” she said. “Since they built the new interchange out there, it makes it a little easier to get trucks and the product in and out. That’s just one reason.”

Gottfried also said the area itself is fast-growing.

MARTOR USA’s new facility in the Village of Hobart will be 26,000 square feet – more than doubling the company’s current 10,000-square-foot facility in Howard. Submitted Rendering

“It’s a very nice community,” she said. “That’s a nice draw for our employees. They have places around there where our employees can go walking and so forth during the day. Being in an industrial park, as we are now, it’s hard to do that. Also, it’ll bring our employees closer to the Hobart community, which will be nice, and hopefully, we’ll become part of the community over time.”

How things work
Gottfried said operations in the United States started after MARTOR forged a longstanding business relationship with a Wisconsin-based company that sold patented safety cutters more than 40 years ago.

That company would later become known as MARTOR USA.

The role the Northeast Wisconsin location has, Gottfried said, is solely distribution.

No product manufacturing is done locally – it’s all done at the parent company in Germany. 

“We bring the product over here in bulk, so it’s accessible for our customers to get it from us,” she said. “We ship to customers throughout the United States and Canada. It’s usually a one- or two-day ship, so the turnaround is fast. Essentially, they could order from us today and have their shipment tomorrow, if they wanted.” 

Locally, MARTOR USA employs 21 people – five of which are warehouse staff, with the others working in sales, general office and administration. 

While the number of employees may expand once the company has moved to its new location, Gottfried said this will be determined based on the growth of the company. 

“As we’re expanding and growing, we’re also becoming more conscious of using things that help us become more efficient,” she said. “That’s why we’re able to do what we do with the (size of) staff we have.”
Focused on quality, safety
Paul DeTennis, director of sales of MARTOR USA, said MARTOR, Inc. is the longest-running safety knife company around. 

“We invented it, and we perfected it,” he said. “Some competitors have come and gone, and there are still some good ones out there, but we were the original safety knife company.”

DeTennis said MARTOR products are German made, German designed, German engineered, German manufactured and “it’s German quality, as well.”

“Being the longest-standing company, having the German quality – which everyone understands and appreciates – and having a wide variety of products, helps (keep us on top),” he said.

Product-wise, DeTennis said, MARTOR carries ceramic-bladed tools, concealed-bladed knives and bladeless cutters – all complete with five different levels of safety “we’ve built into these knives.”

“No matter the size of the customer, the industry they may be in and or how many products we have, safety is always our number one focus – reducing workplace injuries,” he said.

DeTennis said MARTOR safety knives use reliable safety technology – fitting the needs of dozens of industries.

“With the high quality and the wide variety of products, it’s all-encompassing and could fit almost any need out there in any industry,” he said. “That includes the food industry, heavy manufacturing, retail – we have knives for just about every industry out there.”

Construction details
Gottfried said the new facility will be located along Hobart’s Centerline Drive.

Construction, which is being spearheaded by Bayland Buildings, is targeted to be completed by year’s end, with a grand opening happening sometime in 2024. 

An official groundbreaking for MARTOR USA’s new facility was held in late April. The building will be located along Hobart’s Centerline Drive. Submitted Photo

Hobart Village Administrator Aaron Kramer said MARTOR’s late April groundbreaking marked a historical day for Hobart and the Highway 29 Business District.

“As MARTOR joins our community (it makes) it an international community,” Kramer said. “The looks on the faces of the employees were priceless, as they saw where their new facility will be located. It was also a pleasure to visit with Daniel Otto, Managing Director at MARTOR in Germany, who was impressed with the growth and development of the Centennial Centre area, and Hobart as a whole.”

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