There’s been a small specialty knife shop near the intersection of Taft St. and East Hennepin for decades, nestled incongruously among the large factories of Northeast’s Mid-City Industrial neighborhood. Originally called Eversharp, the business was known to local restaurant professionals partly because it was the only Minnesota distributorship for sales and service of Wusthof, a high-end line of German kitchen knives.
The business next door was (and still is) Triple C Technologies, which does convenience store remodeling and makes display fixtures nationwide for kitchen stores. Triple C made fixtures and display cases for Eversharp, and when Eversharp’s owner retired in 2007, Triple C’s owners Tom Jensen and Al Kastenek decided to buy the name and the business.
They moved the operation into the front of their own quarters, at 344 Taft, and continued to sell professional chefs’ knives and other kitchen items, claiming the largest selection of Wusthof knives in the U.S. Triple C continues to make displays for cutlery companies throughout the country.
Jensen’s family is an integral part of the business. Son Mike has been with the company full-time for seven years, but added, “We helped out in the store even when we were kids.” He said none of the eight staff members have titles, but they do have specialties. Mike handles engraving for customers who want presentation knives and corporate holiday gifts. He said, “We’re creating a customized, high-end product, and doing it all across the country. It’s a growing part of our business,” adding, “Having a professional sharpening service gets a lot of top-end chefs as customers.” He noted that specializing in cutlery allows Eversharp to concentrate its skills, unlike kitchen supply stores that have hundreds of separate products to promote.
Daughter Maddie does all the purchasing and testing. She said the customer base is evenly split between working chefs and household knife owners. Customers get same-day sharpening service, or next-day pickup. Some knives needing work have been mailed in from as far away as Australia.
The shop’s full-time knife sharpener Joe Gamache runs hundreds of knives a day through his sharpening station, a closed-off space inside the main showroom. Gamache said he originally worked in a Wusthof warehouse nearby. “The guy who owned the warehouse owned a knife-sharpening shop for restaurants only (sharpening up to 1,000 knives a day, for hundreds of restaurants). We actually owned the knives, and would deliver a sharp set and pick up a dull set at the same time. Some chefs would have their knives sharpened daily.”
After the owner sold the business, Gamache bought the sharpening equipment with his severance payment and started his own shop, called “The Master’s Edge.” A few years later, when Triple C took over Eversharp, the company hired him. Gamache said that by 2010, after 20 years in the business, he had sharpened over a million knives, and said, “Add another half million to that, since then.’
At Eversharp, straight blade sharpening starts at around two dollars a knife.The shop also sharpens scissors, garden tools, and meat slicer blades. Eversharp also sells other lines of knives as well as kitchen gadgets and cutting boards. Yelp gives it five stars.
Twice a year Eversharp holds fundraisers, donating 100% of all sharpening sales to selected nonprofits, among them the Cookie Cart and Urban Roots.
Below: Wustof, high-end German kitchen knives, started it all. Eversharp sharpens blades and sells knives, now owned by Triple C Technologies, makers of display cases and fixtures nationwide for kitchen stores. (Photos by Mark Peterson)