The NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and North Iowa Area SBDC are proud to recognize Allen Eden of Original Saw Company in Britt, IA as the December 2022 Entrepreneur of the Month.
Allen Eden is the President of Original Saw Company and Williams & Hussey. Original Saw was established in 1990 by Allen’s father, Robert Eden. In the 1970s, Robert founded a field drainage company, seeking to build a business of his own. He grew his business and purchased the Jones Machinery Company in the 1980s, a woodworking service and supply company. In the late 1980s, Robert purchased the rights to the DeWalt radial arm saw and moved the manufacturing to Iowa. Original Saw Company manufactures radial arms saws, crosscut power saws, and beam saws, as well as a robust accessory line. Jones Machinery, a partner company, works in conjunction with Original Saw Company providing machinery service and sales across the Midwest. In 2020, Williams & Hussey Machine and Tool Co. was acquired and relocated to Britt as a sister company, producing complementary woodworking products and accessories. Today, the businesses cover a wide range of vital equipment across several fields. From wood cutting equipment to metal cutting equipment, and specialized wood molding machining, Original Saw and Williams & Hussey products are used in everything from cabinet making, fencing and signage, architectural restoration, and more.
Allen didn’t always plan to work for the family business or to become an entrepreneur, but after graduating from the University of North Iowa, he agreed to come back for a few years. “I got kinda hooked on it and it started growing quite a bit,” Allen says. “It was hard to leave.” Allen took over as President in 2002. “I love making stuff. I love watching the team here come together on projects and when you have a huge month and everybody pulls together and is able to get more out than you should from a small company – it’s awesome.”
Original Saw, a small family-owned company in Iowa, successfully competes against businesses around the world. Allen credits some of it to the Midwest work ethic and his team’s commitment to the company’s core tenets. Original Saw established its reputation as a high-end product, with a commitment to quality at every stage of the customer’s journey. “Our customer service – I believe it does set us apart,” says Allen. “But we’re also just a better product.” The company’s castings are all manufactured in the Midwest, and the company’s overall products are 99% American-made. While maintaining a commitment to quality, Original Saw has also continued to innovate, developing new products to meet clients’ needs and adding automation projects to help reduce labor time and increase product functionalities.
Allen has some advice for his fellow entrepreneurs and running a profitable business. “I think the most important aspect is keeping your eyes on the ball,” Allen says. “Know where you’re going as a company, pay attention to the markets, and find the niches that you can slip into and compete against other people.” But for new entrepreneurs, Allen has a few extra words. “Don’t let anybody tell you what you can and can’t go after and do. You can be a small business and still land those giant accounts.”