Chuck Buck: Buck Knives

After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1945, the U.S. Government asked for citizens to donate fixed-blade knives for the troops. "My grandfather said 'I can do something here,' and set to making 2,000 knives, made from old files, in the basement of a church in Mountain Home, Idaho," says Chuck Buck, now Buck Knives' chairman. Two years later, a pastor convinced his grandfather and father to incorporate and start building their high carbon, heat-treated steel knives en masse, and one of america's greatest family-run outdoor gear companies was off and running in San Diego. It's not leaving family hands any time soon – Chuck's son, CJ, is the current CEO, and Joshua Buck, his grandson, is moving up the ranks of the company, based in Post Falls, Idaho since 2005. "Our name is the most important thing, and we've seen many other companies sell and get their name pulled apart once new ownership sells an inferior product. We're not gonna do that," says Chuck.