Jumping Right In
Entrepreneur Has Good Work Ethic, Sound Business Practice
When Edward Scroxton was putting together simple building projects at 9, he had no idea he would continue to improve his woodworking skills and knowledge of wood to the point of owning a small woodworking business by the time his age had doubled.
“I’ve always been building stuff. I remember when I was 9 or 10, my cousin and I built a raft out of pallets and styrofoam,” he said. “Then, we did a little cruise on the lake.”
Later, rather than attend an eighth-grade dance, he and a friend decided they should build a shed. After finding scrap lumber, they built a frame and then went to purchase some particle board to enclose the small structure. The shed became a weekend-long project. Scroxton added a door and a window, for which his mother, Karen Sykes, made a curtain. He tarred the roof, but later put up trusses and covered them with steel roofing, with the help of his step-father, Greg Sykes.
“He’s got a lot of innate skills. He helped me put this floor down,” Sykes said, while pointing to the hardwood floor in the dining room. “He watched awhile and then jumped right in. He can see the end and works toward it.”
Last spring when the entrepreneur had been toying with the idea of selling T-shirts, a chain of circumstances caused him to rethink that business venture. He visited a business that sold grills, while he was in the process of building a cutting board in shop class for a gift for his step-father. While looking at the grills, he got the idea of making and selling cutting boards.
He searched for a source for kiln-dried hardwoods. His mom found walnut at El Greco Woodworking and the son found cherry, maple, red oak and ash at Bingaman Lumber in Clarendon, Pa.
“I called Bingaman inquiring about supplies and talked to the division manager. I met him and he has helped me immensely,” he said.
Friends of the family allowed him to use their workshop for four months.
“All of this has been blessings. God has lined it up perfectly. It’s all God,” he said.
He set up shop in his mother and step-father’s garage after moving from the friends’ workshop. Sykes had a few pieces of equipment, but most has been purchased by the teen, including a jointer, planer, radial arm saw, table saw, sander, router and drill as well as smaller items and accessories such as clamps, sander belts, blades, drill bits, electrical cords, right down to the propane to run his parents’ heater and a broom with which to clean up. He also built a workbench. The total amount spent was $4,168.35. The filtration system was given to him as a Christmas gift from his mother and her husband.
He counts July 10, 2019 as his official start date, since that is the day he began doing business under the name Boars Head Custom Products.
When the high school senior was asked why he chose Boars Head, Scroxton responded with a grin “because it sounded cool and because the product is made for cutting. It sounds better than cow or pig’s head.”
Sykes, who has helped him with marketing, suggested he make a profit report and a cost of goods report.
“He knows exactly what his products cost when he sits down with a customer,”Sykes said.
Scroxton, 18, credits Alex Sullivan for marketing help, as well.
He began selling to friends and acquaintances. While attending a party at his father’s house, he sold all 10 of the boards he had on hand. Since he began, he has added other products such as charcuterie trays and a large board with a lip to hold it in place while the meat is being cut. He sells coasters, paper towel holders and banana hangers as well and is currently making a frame for a friend.
Next came a few festivals and vending shows, such as the Egg Fest at the Bemus Point Tap House, the Busti Apple Festival and a couple of consignment locations. He then decided to approach local businesses. The first contact turned him down, but he wasn’t discouraged and persevered.
The Chop House on Main Street in Jamestown is utilizing his boards, Ellicottville Brewing Company has them available to purchase and the local branch of Century 21 is using them for gifts. All are branded with the business’ logo. Each board has a number of screws that deal with contortion and warping. The screws are covered with a wooden cap. Care instructions are printed on the product labels. Due to the need for cutting board oil to season the products and ensure long life, Scroxton decided to offer a food grade, 100%, BPA-free, premium oil to customers.
In the meantime, Scroxton has his sights set on businesses in Buffalo and Erie, Pa.
“Another of his strengths from a marketing point of view, he gets into the private label. He’s going in and giving them something that they have ownership in,” Sykes said.
“I am impressed at his fortitude of going in and convincing the customer they need his product.”
He intends to expand into butcher block countertops and is currently building one for his father, Bruce Scroxton, who the young businessman said has “helped by giving little pieces of advice along the way and with a consignment source.”
“Everybody in my whole family has supported me and many others,” he said. “Mrs. Donahue and the teachers and staff at Southwestern have been very supportive.”
“I’m really proud of him,” his mother said.
The Southwestern Central High School Senior is a member of National Honor Society, is co-vice president of the Class of 2020, is in cross-country, track and ski club.
“He has been one of the top runners in cross country and track,” Sykes said.
He likes to snowboard, hike, play pick-up basketball and bike. He has ridden his bike around Chautauqua Lake and to and from Warren, Pa. As an attendee of Lakewood Baptist Church, he has gone on a mission trip to Portugal and held a woodworking workshop for the church’s family night. He went through Footsteps and has since become a team member. He was chosen for and attended the American Legion’s Boys State last year. Last summer, he worked for his father painting oil wells. He admits he dabbles in the stock market a bit. He is still deciding which college he would like to attend with construction management as a career goal.
Boars Head Custom Products can be reached by calling 487-7918 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GRANDMA SCROXTON’S PEANUT BUTTER FINGERS
1/2 c melted butter
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/3 c peanut butter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c flour
1 c quick-cooking oatmeal
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients with the exception of the chocolate chips. Mix until it becomes a batter. Pour the batter into a 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Bake the batter at 350 degrees for 20-21 minutes. Spread chocolate chips over bars and return to oven for 1 minute to soften chips. Take out of oven and spread chocolate until bars are covered. Drizzle with peanut butter frosting. Cover and hold for 24 hours. Cut and serve.
PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING
1/4 c peanut butter
4-5 T evaporated milk
1/2 c sugar
Combine ingredients in a bowl. Stir until mixture is thin enough for drizzling. Add more evaporated milk, if necessary. Drizzle over bars. Cut into fingers.
WILD ED’S COLESLAW
Head of cabbage, finely chopped
Carrots, grated for color
1 c mayonnaise
2 T white vinegar
1/4 c sugar
Combine vegetables. Mix mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar and pour over cabbage mixture before serving.
WILD ED’S MEMPHIS- STYLE BARBECUE SAUCE
2 c ketchup
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1/4 c vinegar
1 T onion powder
1 T chili powder
1 T black pepper
1/2 tsp celery seed
1 T salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 c yellow mustard
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T vegetable oil
Combine all ingredients, except vegetable oil. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and whisk in oil and cool. Refrigerate for up to two weeks. Yields: 3 cups
7 lb pork shoulder with bone in
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Wrap in aluminum foil. Cook about one hour per pound. Remove from oven and let stand for one hour. Wearing heavy rubber gloves, pull skin from pork, remove fat and bone and discard.
Place chunks of meat on grill and cook for 30-45 minutes, turning every 10-15 minutes. Pour barbecue sauce all over meat during last 15 minutes of cooking. Chop meat across the grain in bite size pieces and add more barbecue sauce.
WILD ED’S BARBECUE BEANS
2 T yellow mustard
2 c ketchup
1 c sweet onion, diced
1 Jalapeno pepper, diced fine
1 c brown sugar
1/4 c molasses
1/4 c barbecue sauce
28 oz Bush’s Baked Beans
15 1/2 oz pinto beans
15 1/2 oz black beans
15 1/2 oz butter beans
15 1/2 oz kidney beans
5 strips uncooked bacon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix Mustard, Ketchup, Onion, Jalapeno, Brown Sugar, Molasses, and barbecue Sauce. Add beans and mix. Pour into 9-inch by 12-inch baking pan.
Cover with bacon. Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook an additional 15 minutes.
SOUTHERN BARBECUE RUB
8 T salt
8 T sugar
8 T brown sugar
8 T ground cumin
8 T chile powder
8 T freshly cracked black pepper
4 T cayenne pepper
16 T paprika
Mix together. Rub liberally on meats.