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Changes at Grizzly; Reader guilts editor

Wishes for a happy semi-retirement to Shiraz Balolia, the founder of Grizzly Industrial.

The company recently announced the promotion of Robert McCoy to Balolia’s role as president.

“Shiraz is and was a consummate businessman who operates with fairness and integrity for his employees, vendors and customers,” McCoy, a 30-year veteran with the company, said in a statement. “His legacy is one of hard work, dedication and innovation, and he created opportunities for countless individuals and families through his business ventures.”

Balolia started Grizzly Industrial in the spring of 1983 after his hobby of refurbishing and selling metal lathes took off. He discovered a great demand for quality machinery at an affordable price, so he developed relationships with factories overseas and began to import new machines under the Grizzly name. In those early years, Balolia did it all, from accounting, to marketing, to cleaning the floors, to delivering machines in person to customers, in his Volkswagen van, according to the company.

Over the next 37 years, Balolia successfully built Grizzly from a one-employee operation, to the first tool and machinery company with its own website (, to a huge business with nine-figure sales, employing over 300 people in multiple showrooms and warehouses in the U.S. and in company offices in Taiwan and China. Grizzly now has the largest selection of woodworking and metalworking machinery under one brand in the world and remains the only direct-to-consumer industrial machinery company in the United States.

In his new role as Grizzy’s chairman and CEO, Balolia will be able to maintain a flexible schedule that will allow him to spend time with family, enjoy his hobbies, and reflect on the life he built and the lives he improved along the way, the company said.

What was I thinking?

In last month’s Taking Stock, I irked one reader with my decision to select white painted cabinets for my kitchen remodel.

He wrote, “The price of our native hardwoods is way down … because of the latest trend in white kitchen cabinets. You don’t need oak, ash, or cherry for white cabinets. Sawmills and loggers are in a really bad way around here. Some will go out of business. I would hope you would extol the beauty and warmth of natural finish, native hardwoods that support local forest-based economies. Besides, white cabinets show fingerprints!”

Yes, they do, and for the record, please buy from your local sawmills. I’m rethinking my decision.

New parts facility

IMA Schelling is expanding its logistics capacity with the construction of a new central warehouse at its headquarters in Lübbecke, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

“The expansion of the logistics center will enable us to increase efficiencies to better serve our customers,” explained Dietrich Warkentin, head of materials management for IMA Schelling Germany. “In the near future, machine parts, small parts and complete assemblies will be available for production.”

The new 43,000-sq.-ft. central warehouse will have enough capacity for about 5,000 pallets and 16 lifts. It is scheduled for completion by August 2020. 

This article originally appeared in the February 2020 issue.

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