Our History - Bayonet Contract
STONEY CREEK - Getting into the bayonet business was one of the sharpest decisions the Nellas have ever made. With a value of $1.7 million, a Department of National Defence contract to produce 70,000 bayonets was worth taking a stab at. Nella Cutlery Service put in a bid --- an won. The company had already carved out a name for itself with its butcher knives and chefs cutlery. Now, boxes of bayonets are piling up as the company lunges forward with its newest product line. The defence contract, won last month over 60 Canadian companies, has nearly doubled the company's operation.
Nella Cutlery Services is now a $4 million a year operation with seven new employees and a total workforce of thirty. Please with their bayonet success, the company hopes to win further military contracts and have set their sights on a contract to produce scabbards for the bayonets.
Gus Nella said the sheer size of the bayonet contract initially left him wondering if Nella Cutlery could cut the mustard. "We never did this type of work before and we didn't think we would have a chance (of getting the contract) but we're happy we got it." "It's the first time we've ever done anything military. Now, maybe we can make more bayonets --- or survival knives."
The operation began from the back of a van in the 1950s and grew to 13 trucks and an 1,672 square metre (18,000 square foot) plant a Dosco Drive and Arvin Avenue. Founded by Italian immigrant Antonio Nella, the business has grown from a simple knive-sharpening services to manufacturing, sharpening and marketing cutlery.
The Nellas are proud of the bayonets they're now producing to Canadian Armed Forces specifications. "They're better than the American bayonets because we use a stainless steel blade instead of a carbon steel blade," said Gus. Major John Mullarkey, project director for the CAF small arms replacement
program, agreed the bayonets appear to be superior to the U.S. versions, adding "we're quite pleased with the quality."
-- Michael Davie (The Spectator - Hamilton)