School Tool Box celebrates new DeKalb location
DeKALB – Business has been growing so fast for School Tool Box that the formerly Sycamore-based company had to find a bigger space to fulfill all of its pre-packaged school supply orders from schools and parents across the country.
The locally owned company moved into its new location in DeKalb on Barber Greene Road in the former 3M warehouse location in May and held an invitation-only open house on Friday to show off its new facility.
School Tool Box works with schools in DeKalb County and across the country to provide school supply kits based on each school’s specifications. Parents and schools can order the kits online and they will be shipped to the school or home before classes begin.
Owner Doug Stice said that the company doubled its square footage compared to the old location in Sycamore, which allowed the company to do about five times the volume of what it been doing prior to the move.
“We added a ship-to-home program, so that’s what helped us have such rapid growth in the last five years,” said Stice, who is a Sycamore resident. “Parents can customize their box and get only what their kids need. It’s a huge convenience and saves people so much time.”
During the busy summer months, Stice employs 85 workers, mostly high school and college students from DeKalb County. DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith, who attended the open house, said he appreciates that the company hires so many local young people.
“It’s a marvelous opportunity for the kids and for this community to see a company grow [like School Tool Box has],” Smith said. “We’re happy to see the company in DeKalb. It’s really remarkable to see what’s happening here in an old building.”
Employee Victoria Ruud, 20, of Sycamore, has worked for School Tool Box for two summers. Ruud, a Kishwaukee College student, said she really appreciates the larger space to work.
“I now make about 500 boxes a day,” she said. “There’s so much more room so we can get double the amount of work done.”
Her mother, Kathy Ruud, was touring the new warehouse for the first time on Friday and was impressed with its size.
“I wanted to see where [Victoria] works and see the operations,” she said. “It’s a great job for her because she’s able to save a lot of money for college. It’s also a fun environment.”
Taryn Mathey, 19, of Sycamore, has worked for School Tool Box for four summers. Mathey is a student at Northern Illinois University and said that she’s really enjoying the new location.
“We now have four assembly lines, whereas before we only had two, so it’s nice that we can do even more kits this summer,” she said.
By AIMEE BARROWS Shaw Media correspondent
July 16, 2018