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A sharp turn: Canyon Country man hopes to turn around misfortune


Posted: May 13, 2010 10:06 p.m.
Updated: May 14, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Michael Parks sharpens a knife in his truck, which is parked behind Newhall Farmers' Market on Thursday afternoon. Parks began his own mobile business that specializes in instrument-sharpening and kitchen services nearly a year ago next month.

Canyon Country resident Michael Parks searched for a job for nearly seven months after NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory laid him off.

Not only was the former electrical engineer looking for a job, but the self-proclaimed “barbecue professional” was also on a hunt for someone to sharpen his knives.

“I couldn’t find anybody,” said Parks, 48. “I woke up at three in the morning and said, ‘I’ll figure out how to sharpen knives.’”
Parks’ mobile knife-sharpening business stood out among the booths of fresh produce and baked goods at the Old Town Newhall Farmers’ Market on Thursday.

Local residents meandered through the 20 booths that included fresh blueberries, nuts and homemade goat cheese.

Warm weather has recently lured more residents to the market, said Suzie Szabo, manager of the Old Town Newhall Association. Every first Thursday of the month features an art walk.

“A lot of people come and socialize out here,” Szabo said.

As market-goers sampled goat cheese and tamales, the buzzing coming from Parks’ van could not be ignored.

It was the sound of Parks sharpening a pair of scissors on one of his nine specialized machines.

“I’m getting smarter as I go along,” he said.

Since he started his business, Accurate Edge, about a year ago, he’s expanded beyond knives to include all sorts of other blades, like barber scissors, clippers and fabric sheers.

“There are other people that do this but are not mobile,” he said.

Business has been steadily growing for Parks, providing him with full-time work.

But it’s not self-sustaining yet, he said.

Although the former engineer lost his house and moved back in with his parents, he said he is happy.

“To hand someone back something that didn’t work ... and to see their reactions on their face is worth it right there,” he said.


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