Nine months after Hardcore Hammers made the official announcement that they would open their company’s first storefront in Hillsboro, owners Steve and Rick Spencer are making good on their promise to bring manufacturing opportunities to the area.
The brothers fulfilled the first large order to come out of Hardcore Hammers’ new manufacturing plant on Wednesday, Nov. 18, with a delivery of 1,000 specially designed hammers for JF Electric, Incorporated. Hardcore Hammers took possession of part of the long-empty building at 1822 Senator Miller Drive, the old Alco building, earlier this year and have been working non-stop to turn it into a manufacturing and distribution center for the rapidly growing company.
The first step of the process to begin manufacturing and distributing their high-quality tools out of Hillsboro was taken in March of this year, when Hardcore Hammers partnered with Hiller’s Sheet Metal. While Hiller’s will no longer be responsible for assembling and shipping the American-made tools, this collaboration will remain intact with Hiller’s shifting to new responsibilities in the company’s manufacturing process.
Founded in 2010, Hardcore Hammers is geared towards the construction trades and manufactures specialty framing hammers and hatchets. Both owners have plenty of hands-on knowledge from their years spent as framing carpenters.
The first order to roll through the new plant was placed by J.F. Electric, Incorporated, out of Edwardsville, who purchased the hammers as holiday gifts for their employees. The connection between the J.F. Electric and Hardcore Hammers was made by Litchfield resident Bob Buda, who was a key player luring Atlas 46 to the area, who in-turn brought Hardcore Hammers into the Montgomery County fold. While their plant is not quite out of the construction phase, the company jumped at the challenge of fulfilling the large order.
The order acted as a trial run for the Spencer brothers and Chad Weedin, who will take over day-to-day operations of the new plant. Weedin is a longtime affiliate of Spencer and while he lives in Kansas City, MO, he and his son Zachary Weedin will spend their weekdays in Hillsboro, where he will act as plant manager. A fellow union man, hard work is no stranger to Weedin who stated that the plant will be in a learning phase for awhile, while they work out how to smoothly run assembly and shipping out of the space. The Spencers plan to start small with around 12 employees, positions that will be filled out of the local job pool, with the intention to expand as the company grows.
Every part of the specialty tools are made in America. The heads are cast in a foundry in Wisconsin, the handles are made in Arkansas and engraved in Chicagoland and Hillsboro will be the final stop in the production process - where the heads will be ground, handles painted, the individual parts assembled and all orders will be shipped from.
Hardcore Hammers’ goal is for the plant to be fully up and running within the next two years.