Kreg Tool Company all started with a kitchen cabinet and a question: “How do you attach a face frame to a cabinet so the joint can be hidden from view?”
The answer changed the way thousands of woodworkers join wood. Since our humble beginning as a family-owned company in 1989, the Kreg name has become synonymous with pocket-hole joinery. Woodworkers of all skill levels have come to trust our products time and time again.
Let us take you on the journey of Kreg Tool Company.
Kreg Tool Company is Founded
After Craig Sommerfeld developed a U-shaped single-hole jig to hide the holes in kitchen cabinets that he was building in his home (per Kathie Sommerfeld’s request), the jig began being sold at woodworking shows. Proving to be a major success, Kreg Tool was officially born.
It’s the Real Deal
The first patent was issued for the Kreg Jig. This marked a significant milestone in the story of Kreg Tool.
Catching the Vision
While still in high school, Todd Sommerfeld accompanied his father to a woodworking tradeshow in St. Louis. That trip changed everything. It sparked a passion in Todd for selling the Kreg Jig and marked the start of his involvement with the company.
On the Move
After quickly outgrowing the basement and backyard shop of the Sommerfelds’ home, Kreg moved into its newly constructed 5,000 square foot building in Huxley, Iowa. At the time, employees never thought the upstairs would be used. Boy, were they wrong. Construction on the second floor began that same year.
The Big Break
The Kreg Jig was featured on the January cover of Wood magazine. This big break improved awareness of the Kreg Jig and increased recognition of pocket-hole joinery; no doubt helping make it a method used in many woodshops today.
Passing the Torch
Todd Sommerfeld officially joined Kreg Tool after college and a short stint in public accounting. As General Manager, he had a clear vision for the future of his father’s company.
New Tool for the New Millennium
The K2000 jig was released, forever changing the way jigs would be manufactured. Made from injection-molded plastic, instead of metal, this model was faster and less expensive to produce, far more durable, and allowed for additional convenience features.
Lowe’s home improvement store knew a good brand when they saw it and wanted in on the action. They approached Kreg Tool about carrying its products. As a result, Kreg expanded distribution into all Lowe’s locations across the country.
Acquiring Patents and New Products Outside of the Jig
Kreg Tool acquired the patents to Fasttrack tools. This allowed Kreg to re-engineer the lineup and add improvements. Kreg also launched the Precision Measuring System line, which included some of the company’s first products outside of the Jig.
The K3 Jig is patented and released. It consisted of several new key features making it even easier for customers to use.
Increasing Market Share
Kreg launched its Router Table line and secured significant market share in this category by “Kreg-izing” the standard router table.
Made for TV
When the threat of an economic recession loomed large, the company needed a way to help pull through the slump. The solution: a 30-minute infomercial promoting the Kreg Jig. The infomercial proved to be success! It brought sales to a new level, created business opportunities, and raised brand awareness.
Kreg Cares was created as the philanthropic arm of Kreg Tool. This allowed the company to give back and improve the quality of life for employees, customers, and the local community. Kathie Sommerfeld continues to take great pride in managing the Kreg Cares program.
Transitions = Success
Recognizing it takes different levels of leadership and skills to succeed, Kreg implemented the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). This tool enhanced Kreg’s culture by demonstrating that all roles in the organization are equally important, and the entire team, not one person, is responsible for its success.
Kreg Tool is Bursting at the Seams
When the main building could no longer contain all of Kreg Tool, the company expanded into a newly renovated 50,000 square-foot building next door. Today, this serves as our warehouse and distribution center.
Leadership Expands Beyond the Family
Kreg pivoted from family-run to professional leadership when Tony Hogan was hired as the COO. Eventually becoming the President and CEO, this move, along with implementing EOS, changed the growth trajectory of the business.
Kreg Tool Becomes Employee-Owned
With the belief that it’s important for employees to engage in the finances of the company so they would have the freedom to make long-term decisions on their own that would impact their area of influence, Todd Sommerfeld purchased his parents’ stock and implemented an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Today, Kreg is 20% employee-owned.
Kreg Enters a New Space
To keep up with competition and reach a brand-new audience, Kreg launched the Adaptive Cutting System (ACS), the company’s first powered cutting solution.
Todd Sommerfeld Returns to the Helm
Todd Sommerfeld transitioned back into the CEO role at Kreg to further advance the company’s growth strategy and business model. He also retained his duties as Chairman of the Board.
“Kreg Europe” is Created
Kreg entered into a joint venture in Germany resulting in the creation of a company called “Kreg Europe.” This company is focused on the Kreg brand and selling products in Europe.
The Impact of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic kept people at home creating a surge in DIY projects. This resulted in Kreg experiencing an unprecedented demand for our products. Kreg rose to the challenge and was able to dramatically increase our production to meet these demands, all while keeping employees safe.
The Next Chapter
Kreg Tool has entered into a new phase in our history. The company will be moving to Ankeny, Iowa in 2021 where a new campus is currently being constructed. We couldn’t be more excited for our next chapter!