By Brent Fuchs
March 7, 2023

Staying sharp as an entrepreneur

Joshua Cassella started small with his sharpening business but continues to gain momentum.

For many, the COVID pandemic created hardship in business. However, for Joshua Cassella, it brought a new opportunity: Stay Sharp OK.

Having lived in Edmond with his wife for many years, Cassella was a fine art consultant at a local art supply business before the pandemic, helping artists with materials and processes and making his part. But a new venture sparked from a simple gift idea.

“My wife and I get creative with our holiday gift-giving,” Cassella said. “So one year, I decided I was going to try to make knives for my brothers-in-law. I got into making knives, and then when COVID happened, and everyone was stuck at home, they came out of the woodwork asking me, ‘Can you sharpen knives since you make knives?'”

From that point, sharpening knives became a way for him to make money on nights and weekends. Starting Stay Sharp OK in June 2020, Cassella took the business full-time less than a year later.

During Stay Sharp’s first year, Cassella and his wife welcomed their first son. He now splits his time between bonding with his son and running the business.

“Me and my son have fun during the day, do pickups and drop-offs for customers, and I also have a dropbox at my home shop,” he said. “During nap time and after bedtime, I come out here and sharpen away. Then, you can usually find me at a farmer’s market on the weekends.”

Cassella’s skills encompass more than just household knives, scissors, and garden tools.

Joshua Cassella sharpens tools and other equipment from his mobile shop. (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

“I do a lot of sharpening for pet groomers, doing their grooming shears and clipper blades,” he said. “I sharpen for barbers and stylists, doing their clippers and scissors. And in the last year, I’ve gotten into industrial sharpening of planer blades and carbide saw blades.”

And his customer base reaches across the metro.

“I go as far north as Guthrie, down to Norman, out to Yukon and Mustang, and out to Harrah and Luther. Just pretty much about an hour in any direction,” he said.

“I love being my own boss and kind of working my own hours and working as hard as I want to work when I want to work. I’ve always kind of wanted to grow and expand, and I studied business with my art. And so all that started to pay off when I started this business.”

When not working, Cassella prioritizes spending time with his family.

“I spend time chasing after my 18-month-old. We have another one on the way due at the end of March, so we’ll have two boys,” he said. “In our free time, we like to do art and go on road trips, and go swimming. We’re big swimmers.”

Cassella’s advice to future entrepreneurs is to get connected: Find a group of people experienced in that skill set and reach out.

“There are several Facebook groups that I’m in with other sharpeners,” he said. “I went to a retreat around Labor Day with about 30 other sharpeners, where we just met in the middle of nowhere and spent a week sharing ideas and knowledge and having a good fellowship together.”

“Start small, but keep going,” he continued. “I started this as just a night and weekend business to make a couple of extra bucks. Once I started having momentum, and I saw the opportunity to go full-time, I got a little extra training and invested in a couple of bigger, better machines and just kind of leaned into it.”

Looking toward the future, Cassella wants to go even bigger and better.

“I do some sharpening for veterinaries doing their surgical tools. I’m looking to get the equipment and training to start doing other medical tools for dentists and dermatologists and that sort of thing.”

Subscribe to Email Updates


Get Edmond Business news in your inbox.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

About Brent Fuchs

Brent Fuchs is an editorial and commercial photographer based in Edmond. He received a B.A. in photojournalism from UCO, where he minored in history. His work has appeared in numerous area publications, and his photos have received awards from both The Associated Press and The Oklahoma Press Association.