Cape Gazette
http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/218043

Cutting-board couple turns hobby into business

Hermans enjoy retirement outside Millsboro
By Rachel Swick Mavity | Feb 28, 2012
Photo by: Rachel Swick Mavity Colleen and Ed Herman stand in their cutting board workshop outside Millsboro. Colleen is holding a crab-shaped cutting board, which is one of the more popular designs.

MILLSBORO — Ed and Colleen Herman are a team when it comes to making cutting boards.

While Ed is known around the area as "Cutting Board Man," Colleen is right beside him, drawing patterns and setting up the boards for cutting.

In their community at Stonewater Creek outside Millsboro, neighbors know Colleen as the only resident originally from Delaware. She grew up in the Laurel area before moving to northern Delaware where she met and married Ed Herman.

It was a second marriage for both. The couple enjoyed living in their northern Delaware community, but when Ed retired and closed his kitchen and bath company in 1999, they began to think about their future.

Colleen continued to work at Hercules Inc. in Wilmington while Ed started up his hobby of making cutting boards. He had all the contacts he needed to collect scraps of Corian counter-top material through his former kitchen company, and using what he already knew from his past, he was able to start a new hobby that he could do in retirement.

Colleen and Ed were already familiar with craft shows, so during one event they showcased 10 of the cutting boards.

"They sold out in 10 minutes," said Ed. "So, we knew we had something good."

The process of loading and unloading the heavy Corian scraps, and carrying them down to the basement of their townhouse, got to be too much work for Ed. The couple decided it was time for Colleen to retire, and for them to find a new home.

"We had to get Ed out of the basement," said Colleen with a laugh.

Searching from town to town in Delaware, the couple found a haven at Stonewater Creek.

"We loved this development," said Colleen. "We are so happy we moved here. We have wonderful neighbors, and there is plenty to do in the area."

Colleen joined a women's group at the Stonewater Creek clubhouse, and soon learned many new card games from other women in the development. Both Ed and Colleen are known by many in the development, at the couple's church, and around the Cape Region for their creativity, warmth and cutting boards.

They are now featured at no less than 15 shows each year across Delmarva. After introducing their website - cuttingboardman.com - they received even more orders for boards of all shapes and sizes.

Ed takes requests for certain shapes, and over the years he has vastly expanded his selection. This year's top sellers include dog-shaped boards and small boards called beach babies. These small Corian boards can be used as trivets or cheese boards, and they come in nautical-themed shapes like fish, whales and crabs.

When not in the workshop cutting, sanding or buffing the cutting boards, Ed and Colleen can be found on the beach in Cape Henlopen State Park where they enjoy surf-fishing.

Most years, they take a long trip during February, last year traveling to California and Las Vegas. This year the trip was put on hold so Colleen could donate a kidney to her sister, who had been on dialysis.

Just a week after the surgery, Colleen admits she is taking it slower than usual, but she feels pretty good.

Ed just smiles and admits he has no idea where she finds the strength.

It is likely much of her strength comes from Ed, her husband of 22 years. They are used to moving in tune with each other as they go through the process of making cutting boards. He moves, she moves, and vice versa, and together they produce board after board.

The couple is working to create at least 1,000 boards before the June 2 Bethany Beach craft show.

"We are always thinking up new ideas for boards," said Ed. "We like to hear from our customers, and we get request all the time for new designs."

For more information or to place an order, call 302-945-2428 or visit www.cuttingboardman.com.

 

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