01/12/2011 09:34 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

From The Garage To The Kitchen: The Story Of The Microplane

"YOU mean it's only going to be used in the kitchen?"

That's what Richard Grace, a founder of Grace Manufacturing, based here in the Arkansas River Valley, said in 1995 when he learned that his Microplane brand rasp -- designed to be mounted on a hacksaw frame and used by woodworkers -- was being bought in great numbers by home cooks to zest citrus and grate hard cheeses.

"I didn't set out to make cheese graters," Mr. Grace, an engineer by education, said recently. In 1977, he moved south from Michigan to this town 75 miles northwest of Little Rock in search of a warmer climate and more favorable small-business taxes.