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John McLeod is one of that small group of people who have had the good fortune to have made a dream for life come true. John started wood turning when he was 10 years of age after his father gave him a birthday present of a small treadle wood turning lathe. The actual lathe is pictured here.
John had an established career as manager of the largest plumbing and heating engineering company in Scotland involved in the plumbing and heating engineering of schools, hospitals, University buildings and some 600 houses a year. The dream of having his own wood turning business was always there and he allied that to going to the West Coast of Scotland, living in the Highlands enjoying his fishing, his shooting and his dogs and making and selling his hand turned products to markets far and wide.
In 1967 John decided to emigrate to Canada but before settling in Canada he visited Vermont and that was when it all started.
Turning down a number of employment opportunities he decided that this was the place where he wanted to make his dream come true and so in a borrowed workshop he set about making his first group of products and samples.
They were well received by the market, and in fact a display of his woodware was in the window of Georg Jensen on 5th Avenue, New York, in 1967. In addition to his wholesale business a retail store was opened in Wilmington.
By this time he was engaged in constructing a house from an 1836 barn and the workshop was in the basement.
Well time moved on and the basement was no longer big enough so the property at our present location was purchased.
The present-day, 15,000 square foot facility has developed from the property in the adjoining photograph.
In 1996 John decided to develop a method of wood turning which would ally the traditional skills with advanced technology.
This coupled to the prior years of experience and development has contributed to the unique character of our products.
None of this of course occurs without a great deal of hard work and commitment and some considerable personal expense The saving grace for John has been longevity in that he has come through all the ups and downs and been able to experience the fulfillment of his dream. He skis, he fishes, he hikes with his Labradors and he spends a great deal of time out at sea on his boat.
Retirement? No way! With Tommy to back him up and to take the daily pressures off, the business is just too interesting and too exciting to leave. There are new designs, there are new product,s there are new customers, there's new technology, there's new challenges and problems to be solved. It's all exciting.
As you can guess a wonderful support for 25 years has been John's wife Mary Ann. Her experience as a store owner in her own right in California and her expertise as a buyer for major retail companies were welcome contributions.