How the Microplane Grater Escaped the Garage

""According to the New York Times, “Richard Grace, a founder of Grace Manufacturing, based here in the Arkansas River Valley, said in 1995 when he learned that his Microplane brand rasp — designed to be mounted on a hacksaw frame and used by woodworkers — was being bought in great numbers by home cooks to zest citrus and grate hard cheeses.”

“’I didn’t set out to make cheese graters,’ Mr. Grace, an engineer by education, said recently. In 1977, he moved south from Michigan to this town 75 miles northwest of Little Rock in search of a warmer climate and more favorable small-business taxes. ‘I thought I was making serious woodworking tools,’ he continued. ‘To see them used in the kitchen, that was frankly a personal disappointment.” Grace Manufacturing, which now employs more than 300 people at a manufacturing plant here and an assembly plant in Querétaro, Mexico, has in the years since helped establish a new segment of the housewares industry.”

“’It used to be that you only needed to have a chef’s knife and a paring knife in your kitchen,’ said Peter Degnan, director of merchandising for the San Francisco-based retailer Williams-Sonoma. ‘You don’t think you need a food processor, but once you have one, you wonder how you ever lived without it. The same goes for the Microplane tools.’”