Short Video Reviews John Boos & Co. History and Tours Company Manufacturing Plants
WCIA Channel 3 serves Central Illinois, including such heartland communities as Springfield, Decatur and Champaign. Not far away is the small town of Effingham, Illinois – the longtime home of John Boos & Co. Boos is the nation’s leading manufacturer of butcher block products – everything from small cutting boards to wood-topped kitchen islands, tables and carts, as well as stainless steel work tables, cabinets and compartment sinks. WCIA’s Ryan Burk, host of the ciliving “Made in Illinois” series visited Effingham recently to learn more about John Boos – the man, the company and the brand. The result is this excellent short video: http://www.illinoishomepage.net/ciliving/made-in-illinois-john-boos-co
In the late 1880s, John’s father, Conrad Boos, harvested Sycamore wood (nowadays Boos mainly uses Rock Maple, American Cherry and Black Walnut, plus Red Oak). He converted slabs of Sycamore into 3-legged tables upon which local blacksmiths would hammer and pound. The wood slab and legs proved to be excellent shock absorbers – able to withstand repeated blows of hammer on anvil. Sensing an opportunity to expand their product line and budding business, the younger Boos presented their sturdy wood tables to local butchers who immediately embraced them and effectively named what we know today as the butcher’s block.
According to Boos’ VP of Sales and Marketing, Ted Gravenhorst, “Boos & Co. prospered during the first half of the twentieth century, managing to survive the Great Depression, and in the 1940s expanded their product line to include work tables and countertops. A little known fact,” he continued, “is that during WWII 80% of our production was earmarked for use by the military.”
Gravenhorst explained that today the company is a powerhouse in both the residential (mostly wood products) and food service (mostly steel products) segments of the market. “You can find Boos stainless steel tables in such major sports venues as Metlife Stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium, University of Phoenix Stadium and Cowboys Stadium. Demand is so strong we built a brand new steel plant in 2012. And we expect to break ground on a new wood plant later this spring.”
Mark Shook, owner of Butcher Block Co., a leading online seller of kitchen furniture and accessories, reports he’s delighted to be a John Boos dealer. Shook contends, “Boos is one of those rare brand names that consumers know and respect, especially professional chefs and gourmet cooks. They know if it carries the Boos name it has to be great. The company is renowned for using top-grade materials and paying exceptional attention to detail.”