It's been well over a year now since we began our search for a new home for Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture. Our amazing realtor, Suzanne King of Masiello Realty in Brattleboro VT has been incredibly patient and helpful. She's showed us dozens of possible properties and lived through the whole disappointing saga of Skyline, a property we fell in love with last year which did not work out for us.
Now we're working on acquiring Stonehurst, a beautiful old farmhouse property located right here in Vernon VT (that's just part of the backyard shown on the left. Here's a photo of the main house). It's on 109 acres of forested land with scenic views all the way down to the Connecticut River. It used to be a ski area, Pine Top.
Our plan is to do a green renovation of the property and transform it into a luxury, destination shopping experience for customers seeking Vermont's handcrafted, sustainable furniture. What do you think? Is this the kind of place you'd be interested in if you were shopping for fine wood furniture? Let me know in the comments section below or on our Facebook.
We're celebrating our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge success with a store-wide 15% Off Fine Furniture Sale. This has been such an exciting week for us, with the ABC World News crew spotlighting our efforts to get friends and relatives to "buy American" this Christmas shopping season. Manjula and Dennis decided to share our revelry with a big sale– it's store-wide from tomorrow until December 13.
Don't forget to watch us (or set your DVR) tomorrow night on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer and then join with all of us who are promising to buy at least some American made gifts this Christmas– and be sure to get counted on Facebook!
As a company that sells exclusively American made furniture (Vermont-made, actually) we're psyched to get this level of traction behind our push to create more American jobs. As consumers, we have the power and what better time than Christmas (when we're each spending an average of $700 on gifts) to excercise that power!
It was only a couple days ago that Shannon ran into my office with a look of total disbelief on her face, saying that someone named Christine Brozyna, a producer from ABC World News with Diane Sawyer would like to talk to us about our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge.
Wow! I thought WE worked hard at Vermont Wood Studios. In 5 days these people read all about us on the Internet, liked our company and our drive, dreamed up a segment about us for their national news show, gathered up a camera crew, drove up to Vernon VT and spent the whole day today filming our story. It was a whilrwind and I'm not quite sure if I've been dreaming myself, but I have to say today was pretty exciting, either way.
- We did a 10AM shoot at the Schoolhouse General Store with the new manager, Chad Mulverhill, his family and Cindy Falvey. At first we were the only ones on scene so we all had to call everyone we knew, in desperation and beg them to rush down and help us make it look like a good crowd. Our friends came through
- Then we migrated over to the Town Hall at noon for what Christine imagined as a "Huge" crowd scene. Well, I guess huge is a relative term, but I can truthfully say this was a HUGE crowd for Vernon. Linda Shippee had all the pre-school kids there with a Thanksgiving banner they had made. Most of the town employees were there. Several good people from VY came over. And a ton of other people who wanted to support the project came… just to be nice and see what was going on.
- Next was a 2pm segment at the Vernon Elementary School where the principal, Mark Speno let us be a part of the kids' Sock Hop, an amazing assembly in the cafeteria where the teachers we all know and love taught the chicken dance, the swim and the pony to the kids
- Next stop– the Vernon Fire Station where Chief Todd Capan and 3 other brave fire fighters assembled in front of the camera, listened to our spiel and were good-natured enough to give a Made in America shout-out for the producers
- The last shop was Chad Woodruff's Custom Furniture Workshop. Chad is one of Vermont's finest furniture makers and we are so lucky to be able to work with him. The camera crew filmed Chad and his staff woodworking and also did a nice interview with Chad where we learned (among other things) that he can tell the difference between an imported piece of furniture and an American made piece from 10 feet away.
Thanks also to the local media who came out to capture the event. I love this behind the scenes video posted by Zach Stephens at The Brattleboro Reformer.
I hope you get to see all of this on Wednesday when it airs on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer at 6:30pm. Everywhere we went today, the producers set up the scene so we were telling people about our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge and asking them to join us. We honestly had no earthly idea how this was going to play out and we're so grateful to everyone for supporting us in our ignorance.
I can't image how they're going to boil 10 hours of filming down to 3 minutes but I trust that the genius of Christine and Eric Noll (the other producer) will prevail and everything will come out just fine. That's Christine and Eric above with Tom and Mark, the camera crew. They had us getting our picture taken holding the Made in America sign all day, so we wanted to turn the tables on them and get a photo of them holding a sign of our choice– a promotional sign for Woodruff Custom Furniture.
If you made it to this page, and even to the bottom of this page– we're sending out a big THANK you to all of you from ABC. We look forward to seeing you again, closer to Christmas. Come and check out all our American Made finds!
Manjula and Dennis are in the next room fine-tuning this year's Black Friday Furniture Sale. I can only eavesdrop at the moment– because they know I'm going to blog about the details as soon as I hear them. Stay tuned and I will fill you in as soon as I know what's up.
In the meantime, check out our American Made Holiday Shopping Challenge. Before you scoop up all those Black Friday bargains, check to see where the stuff is made and share any great "American made" finds with us on Facebook.
Here's another idea for your "American Made" Christmas shopping: our furniture gift certificates. You can purchase them in multiples of $100. A pretty cool stocking-stuffer, don't you think?
Five years ago who would have ever even considered buying high end furniture online? Probably not many but several factors have been changing that. Today you can buy almost anything online and the process for buying furniture just keeps getting better and easier. Here are a few things to consider if you're shopping for fine furniture online:
Quality, Style and Price – Shopping online opens up a whole new world of choices when it comes to furniture quality, style and price. Even if you're planning to buy your furniture at a local brick and mortar store, you'll benefit from researching these options online and learning how they affect each other. You can also get an idea of what prices are fair and reasonable, as prices for the same piece of furniture can vary unbelievably from store to store.
Customization – Big box stores don't typically offer customization but smaller local stores usually do and so do many online furniture stores. A lot of our customers who live in Boston, Manhattan and other cities need to have their furniture customized to fit small spaces and we're happy to accommodate that. Custom furniture is not necessarily any more expensive than catalog furniture, especially if we're working off an existing design that just needs to be sized up or down to fit into your space.
Lead Time – Buying furniture online often means factoring in additional lead time for crafting and/or shipping. For example, at Vermont Woods Studios the average time between order placement and delivery to your home is about 6 weeks. That can vary depending on the particular pieces of furniture ordered, the degree of customization and the customer's location.
One last thing: online furniture stores have had to really focus on customer service in order to survive. The Internet provides such an accessible forum for reviews of our quality that there is no room for mistakes or less than stellar customer service. This is a great thing for both customers and the industry. It raises the bar for online and brick and mortar stores alike.