#MyNeckoftheWoods Series

Part 1: #MyNeckoftheWoods “Our Home” Series

August 12, 2016
#MyNeckoftheWoods Series - Part 1

Chris driving to “the Mill” [Manchester Wood] in the morning from his home in Pawlet, Vermont

When designer and sample maker Chris Bowlen comes to work he’s thinking of the ten different projects in the works…

“I’ve gotta finish our new Herrick Brook Collection… 8 items to complete in 24 hours for a photo shoot… so I’m busy! [chuckles with a smile]…”

Written by Eric Henzie, Marketing Executive

When I started work here, I found a story. I found a story about a proud family-owned business. I found a story about a company that has evolved over three generations. I found a story that I think deserves to be told. I find it entertaining to listen to the company’s history. I find it inspiring.

There is a consistent theme for our team here at the Mill, loyalty. One quarter of the team has been working here for over twenty-five years… Bev since Day One. Our President six months after it started. The median employee tenure is nearly fifteen years. We are very proud of this. Our company’s proprietors, the Eriksen’s view this as an immense responsibility. At the core of Manchester Wood principles… focus on sustaining jobs for American workers.

One of those team members is Chris. Chris, like me is relatively new to Manchester Wood. Chris is a craftsman; He is a talented artist, meticulous designer, a builder and a genuinely interesting guy.

We asked Chris about featuring him for a series of posts over the next month… Some that highlight him; some that highlight all of us and our community here. Because despite all the noise out there on TV, home is still so very important to all of us. It’s where this series of writing proudly starts with #MyNeckoftheWoods.

There are those that love to get their hands dirty, fix or build things. They start their week days with a strong cup of coffee, drive into work, and you wouldn’t be surprised to see them fixated on one of the half dozen additional projects they are working to complete.

Chris has two ‘official’ jobs, and works on pet projects during his ‘free’ time. He started working here last year, while also at a custom furniture artisan in nearby Dorset, VT.

This particular part of America lacks corporate America’s presence, the notion of job juggling stems from the history and geography of the Vermont-New York countryside. From the very beginning of exploration and settlement, people would improvise, innovate and carve one or more livelihoods out of the land up here. The whole tradition of holding multiple jobs goes right back to the beginning. We define ourselves by our strong sense of identity. People who live in this area have a strong sense of self. They identify themselves by their self reliance and independent spirit.

There is a significant amount of skill and expertise required to take a design through each phase of the building process in furniture making.

The team recently embarked on several new projects to develop, and it’s offered up a design Chris and Luke [Eriksen] initiated several months ago. We plan to release their new Herrick Brook Collection at the conclusion of this series of #MyNeckoftheWoods posts.

After you’ve spent time with Chris, you’ll begin to notice that he routinely sketches as he talks about products and ideas. I get a sense that he wants you to see the vision that’s in his head. There is a noticeable drive behind his desire to create. It’s not only that, it’s the drive behind his desire to create change to perfect our design technique here for the next generation of Manchester Wood products.

Stay tuned for Part 2…

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