Cozzini Bros Plan Boardman Cutlery Sharpening Hub

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A company based in Des Plains, Ill., is looking to sharpen its logistics strategy across the Midwest with a new facility in Boardman.

Cozzini Bros is in the process of renovating space at 6971 Southern Blvd. into a cutlery sharpening operation that would as of now supply its distribution network throughout Ohio, western Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

“We supply hotels, schools, grocery stores, butcher shops, and restaurants all over the country,” said Mark Mintmire, the company’s regional general manager. “We want to get closer to our customers.”

The company owns all of the cutlery and blade products used by its customers, Mintmire said. When the blades become dull, the customer exchanges the worn one with a sharpened utensil from Cozzini. The dull blade is then sharpened and recycled for other customers, he said.

“We sharpen them and then send them to our distribution hubs,” he said. The company has a small center in Girard, another one in Akron and a third in Monroeville, Pa. Cozzini Bros also has a location in Columbus and Dayton and is preparing to open another in Cincinnati, he said.

“Anyone with a commercial kitchen is a potential customer for us,” Mintmire said. While most of its business is sharpening cutlery, Cozzini Bros owns and exchanges can openers, slicers, grinder plates, food processors, and other cutting products.

The Boardman location would be Cozzini’s 11th sharpening center in the country, Mintmire said. Renovation of the building should be completed by mid-December, and the new operation is expected to employ between 35 and 40.

“We’ll run a two-shift operation – about 20 employees per shift,” he said. These jobs would include delivery drivers, sharpeners and other positions.

A job fair is scheduled for Dec. 3, he said.

Mintmire said the renovation would require the installation of new equipment and tools. “It’s a huge investment,” he said, in excess of $1 million. “We’ve gutted the space, upgraded the electric, and are installing power conveyor systems,” he said.

Cozzini Bros is no stranger to the Mahoning Valley, Mintmire said. About eight years ago, the company acquired Youngstown Grinding on Mahoning Avenue.

James Sabatine, Jr., co-owner of Boardman Flex LLC, which owns the four-building, multi-tenant complex where Cozzini Bros is locating, said the company was looking at other areas before deciding on Boardman.

“It was either us or Akron,” Sabatine said. “We tried to be as responsive as we could. We wanted the jobs here.”

Boardman Flex purchased the complex last year and has made improvements to the site, Sabatine said.

Witmer Construction in Salem is performing the renovations in the building for the Cozzini Bros project, he noted.

Cozzini Bros started as a horse-drawn sharpening operation by Giuseppe Cozzini on the streets of Chicago in the early 20th century. By the 1930s, his three sons joined the business and began to expand its territory.

During the 1960s, the operation expanded to include major industrial accounts, restaurants and supermarkets.

Today, the company boasts more than 49,000 clients, including some of the largest and most recognizable restaurant and grocery chains in the country, according to the company’s website.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.