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Roseville native opens his business’s headquarters in hometown

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published September 7, 2016

 Kevin Hess poses for a portrait next to an industrial band saw Aug. 25 after a ribbon-cutting ceremony for AHB Tooling & Machinery’s new facility in Roseville.

Kevin Hess poses for a portrait next to an industrial band saw Aug. 25 after a ribbon-cutting ceremony for AHB Tooling & Machinery’s new facility in Roseville.

Photo by Sean Work

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ROSEVILLE — After years of having his company in Saginaw, Kevin Hess, president of AHB Tooling & Machinery Inc., decided to bring the headquarters back to his hometown. 

Hess began his journey in 1978 at Detroit Saw Co. learning the sales trade of supplying cutting tools and band saw blades to customers in Roseville, Warren and the east side of Macomb County. 

“I was actually a field sales person in the industry, years and years ago,” said Hess.

As he built up a customer base, Hess’ boss sold the business. 

“When he sold the business, I was kind of forced to make a decision of, ‘Do I stay or do I move on?’” said Hess, referring to staying or leaving his boss’s company.

Hess stayed for a short time in 1996 and eventually, in 1999, bought a business and moved to Saginaw.

“A lot of our business is down here and we were trying to service it out of Saginaw,” he said. “We made it work, but it made more logistical sense to be down here.”

According to its website, AHB Tooling & Machinery is an industrial distributor specializing in abrasives, band saw blades, cutting tools, fluids, machinery and waterjet supplies.

AHB Tooling & Machinery has 35 full-time employees. There are 22 employees working out of the Roseville building, including three employees who worked in Saginaw.

“We actually still needed a presence in Saginaw, so we sold the building to our next-door neighbor and we leased some space back from him,” said Hess.

AHB Tooling & Machinery sits at 15300 Martin Road, where Hess had the existing building renovated.

“We renovated the building and it (the building) was also an old customer of mine, so that made it even more special because the side door of the building, I used to walk in and make sales calls to the customer,” he said.

Hess decided to renovate the building in Roseville to stay local; not only did he grow up in Roseville, but he said he felt he owed it to the community to give back.

“My vision was to renovate the building and give it a good curb appeal and everything. I feel like any business owner kind of somewhat owes it to the community to try to stay local, try to hire local if possible, enhance the community and give back to the community,” said Hess.

Roseville High School has a scholarship program that names the scholarships for the businesses that fund them.

“When I bought the building, I immediately went over to the high school and told them I was coming back. I wanted to offer up a scholarship,” said Hess, a 1974 graduate of Roseville Brablec High School, which has since closed.

AHB Tooling & Machinery gives out two scholarships a year.

“It’s kind of fun because we get to meet the student who receives the award,” said Hess.

As far as internships with the company, Hess does not have an official program for that yet.

“That is something we want to graduate into,” he said. “Especially with the high schools, they have guys that work with machinery, and one of the goals would be to get them over into the distribution side to see how it all ties together,” said Hess.

While AHB Tooling & Machinery is local, Hess said it can meet the needs of businesses big or small.

“We’re pretty much at the size now where we can do business with anybody who’s in the manufacturing business, big or small. I think some of the bigger people don’t recognize us as a dealer who can service their needs, when we really can,” he said. “We’re expanding and growing, so we’re still able to meet the needs of the industry as it expands.”

AHB Tooling & Machinery does business statewide up to Traverse City and is now expanding into Ohio and Indiana, according to Hess.

On Aug. 25, the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house to celebrate AHB headquarters moving back to Roseville.

“We are pleased that Mr. Hess remembered his hometown when seeking a new location for his corporate headquarters. AHB Tooling & Machinery is a positive addition to the city of Roseville,” Linda Weishaupt, executive director of the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce, stated in an email. “A once-vacant building has been renovated and occupied, thus providing a boost to the local economy. They have also indicated a desire to get involved in the community, and we look forward to working with them.”

Hess believes his company is on a good path and has steady growth.

“We expect that market to grow nicely within the next few years,” Hess said.

“We know how to make it work. As we expand, we just try to hire more people and grow, which is good for everybody,” said Hess.

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