MARCH 11, 2021 — Later this month a local small business will be featured on Drew Barrymore's talk show.
It's called "Words With Boards" and it's a husband-and-wife team who spent the past eight years making a name for themselves - by carving your name onto their unique products:
“This is a really hard technique that we've perfected,” said Kim Strassner, who founded the company along with her husband, Mike Pararas. “It's very different. Instead of laser-engraving, we actually hand-cut, with a scroll saw, the letters out of the board.”
That’s why there is no possible way, that any two "Words With Boards" cutting boards can be exactly the same.
“These aren't the kind of thing that can be very easily mass-produced,” Pararas said.
Strassner used to work in manufacturing, and Pararas worked in graphic design. Together, they started making their custom cutting boards for family and friends, in their basement.
But Strassner’s wood carving goes back a bit farther than that: “In wood shop in junior high, I made a cutting board that said ‘chop’ on the top of it.” And she still has that cutting board today.
Eventually they needed more space so they moved the operation to a 3000-foot woodshop in Hampden.
Now, "Words With Boards" has been featured on "Oprah's Favorite Things,” Martha Stewart’s Wedding Gift Guide, and many other national publications..
“This wasn't like our vocation; it was just kind of something we started on the side but we've been able to kind of bring our disciplines from our other careers into this and it's kind of grown from there,” Pararas said..
The boards are 100 percent customizable. They’re made from either walnut, cherry or maple. Plus, for each board they sell, Strassner and Pararas pay to have a new tree planted somewhere in the United States.
The only problem has been that some people use their board for something other than cutting: “They just hang them on the wall or set them on the counter and we say ‘No turn them on their back, cut on the back side, keep that nice.’ But a lot of people literally won't use them because they like them so much,” Pararas said.
Last year, Drew Barrymore put out a call for examples of items that are made in the USA, to highlight on her talk show.
Kim Strassner sent in one of their cutting boards, and now "Words With Boards" will be featured on The Drew Barrymore Show this month.
“People definitely are seeking out American-made products,” Strassner said. “You know good quality American-made products, so that has been really nice to see.”
The Drew Barrymore Show airs every afternoon at 4:00 on WMAR. The episode featuring "\Words With Boards" will be on March 23rd.