Galen Garretson, Town Cutler

Keeping San Francisco Sharp, One Knife at a Time

Galen Garretson knows knives and the value of a sharp knife first hand. He has worked in the culinary industry his entire career, first at San Francisco restaurants Beach Chalet, Town Hall and Mecca, then Magnolia and finally famed Pacific Avenue restaurant Quince.

As his career progressed, Galen witnessed a common theme: chefs were unable to find a reliable, high-quality knife sharpener and therefore used dull knives. Galen saw beautiful sushi-grade fish lose their clean line, vegetables chopped in non-uniform sizes, and butchers turn red because of rough cuts. Finally fed up with this problem, he put down his chef’s hat and replaced it with a whetstone.

As soon as he decided to open a knife sharpening business, Galen faced a big problem: as a start-up business, he couldn’t find financing to pay for inventory, marketing, or sharpening equipment. In 2011 he came to Working Solutions, a nonprofit microlender, who worked closely with Galen on his business plan, lease agreement and loan uses. Then when he was ready, Working Solutions loaned Galen the $25,000 he needed to open Town Cutler.

Town Cutler celebrates its grand opening at 1005 Bush Street in San Francisco on Monday, June 13, 2011. “I’m excited to be able to provide a needed service to San Francisco chefs and food lovers,” said Galen. “I’ve put my heart and soul in to bringing quality products and efficient services to the Bay Area’s epicurean community”.

We look forward to it too, Galen.

Town Cutler offers knife sharpening to Bay Area residents using a Japanese whetstone technique. They also offer knives and knife accessories by esteemed brands like Kikuichi, Masamoto, Kanematsu, Wusthof and Zanmai.

Thanks to Kelly Lovlein for submitting the story. Kelly is the Marketing/Operations Manager for Working Solutions.