Grove City forge rebuilding along I79
By ROB PRICE, editor
The retail action along Interstate 79 outside Grove City is due to change shortly.
Wendell August Forge, whose historic plant in Grove City burned down a year ago, will rebuild on a tract of land behind the Grove City Outlets, on the west side of the Interstate.
Since the 1920s, the company manufactures hand-made, personalized metal giftware. Its Grove City plant was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The plant, however, was located at the end of a residential street in Grove City; company officials believe the location will be far more accesible to the public.
The company started in Brockway, Pa., in 1923, then moved to Grove City in 1932. Since the fire, it has been operating in a local industrial park. It has a rich history of handcrafted metal works, including ashtrays for the German airship Hindenburg.
It currently is owned and managed by descendents of the late William Knecht III, a Warren, Pa., native who purchased the business in 1978. Knecht served as CEO and chairman of the company until his death in 2004.
The forge has the potential of being a major draw for tourist retail dollars. It advertises, for example, personal engraving services that often can be completed within an hour on the presmises. It also maintains a line of Christmas ornaments and plates, baby gifts, wedding gifts, serving pieces and desk and home accessories.