Have you seen any of the ABC News Made in America specials on World News with Diane Sawyer? This week they're talking about the impact college students could have on our economy if they purchased USA made dorm room accessories and linens from American companies.
It's tough to do since universities are unwittingly pushing imported goods through their campus stores, but it is possible, as demonstrated on the show. And in fact this room was $92 cheaper to furnish with American made items than similar imported ones.
Sawyer notes that the average college student shopper spent $800 this season or a total of $46 BILLION. If that money had been spent purchasing American goods, it could have provided almost half a million American jobs!
So it turns out it can be cheaper to furnish a college dorm with American made items than imported ones? Maybe some smart college presidents will commission their business school faculty and students to get on this and transform their campuses into American Made spaces.
Oh and if they're looking to add American made furniture to the dorms, Vermont's own New England Woodcraft has been building solid wood furniture for college dorms right here in the USA for over 50 years.
It looks like this Vermont-made furniture is pretty well equipped to handle college students, wouldn't you think?
And while we're on the subject of USA made furniture, I can say that 100% of our furniture at Vermont Woods Studios is 100% made in America… in Vermont to be precise.
Your purchases here employ our 5 staff members who operate the website and take care of sales and customer service, plus about 15-20 furniture makers and many additional support people including shippers. You are making a difference when you Buy American and we are grateful for your support.
An irony of our love of the outdoors and our great appreciation of nature and natural environments is that we at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture spend quite a bit of time each day indoors in front of a computer! That’s just the nature of a web business I suppose. We sure do need to be “hard wired” or “connected” for a lot of our eCommerce business functions.
Manjula, Kendall and Dennis on a Walk and Talk by The Brown Farm on West Road in Vernon
But for a lot of us these days, our work days are much less physical then they use to be. Some days it just seems that you could spend the entire day in your chair as everything you need either comes in or goes out via the computer. We don’t even have to get up out of our chair to send or receive faxes anymore! But then what about times where you don’t need the computer like meetings and discussions? Times when we can work unplugged? Just everyone roll your chairs a little closer together?
Well we have found a better alternative that works great for us and gets us up, out & about! You see in our office we have taken to walking meetings, or what we like to call our “Walk & Talks”. Near our office we have the luxury of having some great scenic, and quiet rural roads. So most days of the week we take to the streets and conduct our “non computer” work during our walk. Just a quick divided road crossing and then under the railroad bridge to the right and we are in perfect walking territory!
Dennis, Peggy and Manjula at Annette's Malhanna Farm on Pond Road in Vernon
These quiet tree lined streets lead us past dairy & horse farms, corn fields, and into some nice residential neighborhoods. Ringing phones replaced by singing birds and rustling leaves! Moving more then just your hands and fingers! And if we time it right the cows will be by the fence waiting for us or my favorite black & white pony will be in view. It seems most of our best ideas and problem solving takes place out on these walks. We hope you work in an area that provides a quiet and safe walking area. If so give walking meetings a try! It just feels great to get some fresh air, real light, stretch the legs and just be up, out & about!
By Dennis Shanoff
Where did Spring go? It seems like suddenly it is summer! So have you planned your summer family vacation yet? Or are you still looking for vacation ideas?
Well if you haven’t planned your summer vacation you just might want to consider a Vermont Vacation. We might be a tad biased but we think Vermont is one of the best vacation spots. And if you like fresh air, rolling green hills, arts & crafts and artisan foods Vermont is absolutely one of the best places to vacation!
Where to stay? The choice is yours. Vermont accommodations range from quiet campgrounds and cozy cabins to luxury inns and classy resorts. You can make one area your base camp while you work the region or hop scotch the state on a theme vacation such as following a cheese, wine, or micro brewed beer trail.
What to do? Here are a few of our favorite Vermont vacation ideas and popular destinations:
It’s hard to beat the quaintness of Woodstock, a postcard picture perfect New England Village. Be sure to visit the Gillingham & Sons General Store. You will be amazed at the diversity of products they carry! Nearby Queeche Gorge offers great scenic opportunities, antiquing, and fine dining. You might consider lunch or dinner at the Simon Pearce restaurant where you will have the added treat of dining on a balcony overlooking a dramatic waterfall. Prefer your activities to be a little more strenuous? Try hiking or mountain biking in the Killington area.
Or visit our big city of Burlington where we don’t quite have skyscrapers but you might find a building more then a few stories tall. Burlington is not only a great pedestrian town, but very dog friendly. Take a Lake Champlain tour (Americas 6th largest lake) or wander about Church Street where outside dining and unique shops abound.
Need more ideas? When it comes to finding Vermont vacation attractions the official Vermont tourism website has a great search feature to help you discover fun and interesting things to do. And if your route brings you in the southeastern area of Vermont and you have an interest in seeing some of Vermont’s best wood furniture please stop by and visit our showroom in Vernon.
So this year take a Vermont family vacation! Oh, and bring an empty suitcase… you are going to find a lot of goodies you’ll want to bring back!
Photo courtesy of Vermont State Parks.
You may not even have noticed because of all the rain, but this is STRAWBERRY season in Vermont. Usually by this time of the summer, we've been to Dutton's PYO Berry Farm a couple times to pick our own berries.
When the boys were toddlers we would get to the check-out stand and have several quarts of berries to weigh– as well as an empty container in each of the boys fat little hands. We really should have been weighing the boys on the way in and then weighing them again at check-out to get an accurate price for the strawberries they picked. But the nice people at Duttons were always happy just to estimate that.
Anyway, this year's strawberry crop is about at peak now. The rain has made some of the fields too soggy to pick in, but the fields that are drained are said to have an INCREDIBLE crop. Loads of berries on every plant and the rain has super-sized them. It's
There are strawberry festivals all over Vermont but perhaps the most well known festival is at Sam Mazza's Farm Market in Colchester, Vermont this Saturday, June 25 from noon-4pm. Here you'll find fresh-picked Strawberry Shortcake piled high with Whipped Cream and Ripe, Juicy Vermont Strawberries grown on the farm. Strawberry Milkshakes, Strawberry Fudge, Strawberry Jam & Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries are also favorites. Pony Rides, Kid's Games, a Petting Zoo, Face Painting & Vermont Specialty Food Samples and WVMT Radio Personality Charlie Papillo will be there to keep you entertained. Check it out, pick your own strawberries and let us know how you liked it! Or if you've found another Strawberry Festival you love, tell us about it in the comments section.
At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture we get a lot of requests to support good causes. We've listed many of the causes we support on the webpage that describes our environmental mission. Our giving is aligned with our wood furniture business and is focused on sustainable forestry, especially rainforest conservation.
If you represent a non-profit environmental organization, I have to recommend a great tool… the fundraising widget. We use one provided by The Nature Conservancy for their Plant A Billion Trees campaign.
Why do I love it so much?
- It's easy to install on our website
- It enables our customers and our company to donate quickly and easily
- It's a clear visual indicator (thermometer) of how much we've given compared to our goal
- It's auditable
Charitable Fundraisers: If you come to us with a fundraising request that fits our mission and a widget that's easy to use, we're very likely to put it up on our site and start raising money for you.
Our thanks go out to Vernon, USA's most famous DJ, the Great Tim Johnson of WTSA.net for inviting us into his studio for an interview highlighting the work of Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture Makers.
Tune in to 96.7FM and you'll hear snippets of our conversation with Tim interspersed with great music, local news and lots of fun and games.
Led by Tim, WTSA does a lot of good work for our community including projects like Feed the Thousands and The Reformer Christmas Stocking. We appreciate Tim's outreach work and are proud to be included in WTSA's fine programming.
Customers are often surprised to learn that natural cherry wood changes colors over time– quite a bit actually. Natural cherry wood starts out as a light-toned wood, usually with a color similar to the Modern American 3 Drawer Nightstand shown and it takes time to darken as it is exposed to light.
The length of time to go from this light color to the darker color shown below in our Modern Shaker Bookcase varies with the amount of natural and artificial light in the room and can take anywhere from a month to a number of years. Most customers, however report that their furniture darkens to at least this hue within 4-6 months. Cherry furniture will darken even further given enough light.
Our craftspeople suggest exposing the furniture to as much light as possible. For cherry furniture that has an oil finish, you can also speed up the ripening (or darkening) process by re-oiling the furniture often. They recommend re-oiling once a day for the first week, once a week for the first month, once a month for the first year and once a year thereafter.
Adding a dark stain is also a possibility but woodworkers always plead with us to have patience and wait it out instead (there is really no comparison between stained cherry and the real thing).
The result– a natural rich, reddish brown hue that is exceptionally lustrous and supple to the touch. It is truly worth waiting for especially since our furniture is purchased for a lifetime of use.
Our thanks go out to the fine people at the Marlboro College Graduate Center in Brattleboro, Vermont for their help and support in a recent project we collaborated on together.
MBA students, Jennifer Marshall Grantham, Rupert Grantham and Don Simms who are completing their Masters in Business Administration Degrees in Managing for Sustainability worked with us at Vermont Woods Studios to provide research and recommendations on growth strategies for our business.
We greatly appreciate their time, talents and insight into our business. I also wanted to thank their advisors Bruce Gardner of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation BDCC and Will Keyser of the Marlboro Grad Center and Startup Owl, who have contributed their expertise to our strategic growth plan. We value this partnership and look forward to further collaborations in the future.
Many thanks to Chris Garafolo of the Brattleboro Reformer for his fabulous article about Vermont Woods Studios Furniture. We met with Chris last week in the Farm Office and showed him another aspect of this historic location that I think he was quite surprised to see. He writes:
"Operating out of a spare room of a Vernon farmhouse, one Vermont business has quickly gained a national reputation for supplying quality furniture from sustainable sources around the Green Mountain State…
Chris also visited with local Brattleboro furniture artisan Greg Goodman who recently made a reproduction of a Chippendale cabinet for Annette, who's original cabinet was destroyed in the farmhouse fire. We thank both Chris and Greg for their support of our ongoing efforts at Vermont Woods
* The 2010 Bi-Annual Furniture & Wood Products Design Competition
* The Seventh Annual Vermont Student Woodworking Design Competition
* Vermont Green Design Challenge
Vermont woodworkers of all levels are invited to apply for inclusion in these prestigious events by contacting Erin Sheridan at VWMA. The competitions will be judged Saturday & Sunday, September 25-26, at the Vermont Fine Furniture Festival at the Union Arena in Woodstock, where the entries will be on display. Everyone is invited to an awards reception on the evening of Saturday, September 25. Great prizes will be awarded for first place winners. We look forward to seeing all the entries. Hope to see you there.