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#40yearsofmemories: Memories from Longtime Employees

October 1, 2016

Employees who have been with us for 10+ years (that’s half the people here!) share their favorite memories on our 40th anniversary month.

“I started junior or senior year of high school… We had a spray booth quarter of the size of what they are today. I remember bringing Laurie (now a 26 year employee) into interview with Cliff and it was at 2:30 in the afternoon, and he said, ‘Can you start now!?’ [Chuckles] …We worked until 4:30 in those days.”

-Bev Hewes, 40 years

“Stick through good times and bad… we’re a family here. Sure it’s a job, but it’s more than that to us. We’re doing it for Cliff, for the story, the legacy of this place. We believe in the future. Ed and Priscilla stuck with us through some hard times, so we’re doing the same for them.”

-Judy Coley, 26 years

“I actually never had a job interview. I was watching my sister’s baby in the car while she went in to interview, and came back out and said, ‘you start Monday.’ I said, ‘What!?’ …They asked her if she knew of anyone else who would want to work, and she mentioned me… She lasted two months, I’ve been here 15 years.”

-Jennifer Dimick, 15 years

“I’m still here because of that man [Ed]… he’s helped me a bunch, and I remind people how good he’s been to me.”

-Jim Devino, 26 years

“When I got hired I was taking care of my daughter at the time, because I didn’t have anyone to take care of her, so I had to bring her with me to the interview and they said no problem. When we left, she said, ‘Daddy, I think you’re going to get hired… I just have a feeling.’ I said, ‘Yeah, you think so?’ … I’ve enjoyed working here.”

-Jose Figueroa, 11 years

“I remember first day coming into the interview, Ed was just shuffling around papers on a desk trying to find my resume. I kept telling him where it was but he was just going so fast, not paying attention to what I was saying [Chuckles]. He eventually found it, interviewed me, and hired me on the spot. Been here ever since.”

-Richard Moffitt, 28 years

“Dairy farmed my whole life then came here… I’m still outside everyday when I’m done [at the mill].”

-John Brown, 12 years

“Always family oriented… I feel like part of the family. I actually missed my first interview because I was on the rescue squad and actually went to Manchester Wood on an emergency call that day instead of an interview. I came back later and I’ve been here ever since.”

-John Thomson, 25 years

“I tried getting hired here before, and they were all set. I worked for Evergreen Slate before, then for a plumbing and heating company in Castleton [VT]. Finally got in here on the night shift (back when it ran). I love drilling. I’m a gear head so set-ups are fun. My fingernail is .0306… I use all sorts of quarks to measure exact.”

-Scott Reed, 14 years

“Love the people, enjoy the work. First time I sprayed [in finishing] I was nervous, but it worked out. Now I’m running around here like a chicken with my head cut off [in charge of many tasks] but I like it… It keeps me busy.”

-Laurie Burch, 26 years

“I love going to all the departments, learning new systems.”

-Nancy Mashak, 17 years

“I know it’s hard to keep this thing going, and I really appreciate the fact it’s still here. I’ve seen a lot of changes, coming from Manchester to Granville, all good things that needed to happen. The people are great, and always have been.”

-Carl Sheldon, 33 years

“The people are great, it’s also a great place to work.”

-Billi Jo Rathbun, 14 years

“I’ve run just about every machine… You can put me in front of any one of them and I can run it… Love working here.”

-Eric Kirchner, 12 years

“I enjoy it… I’ll work in the rough mill a few hours, down to sanding, drilling, packing… I like the variety, it’s a good job.”

-Patti Devino, 26 years

“Favorite memory is bagging chairs with Patti (26 year employee) about 8 years ago… I was still new so she was showing me the ropes. Getting to know each other was fun, and it doesn’t matter if we haven’t worked together in a while, you put us together in packing and we’ll pack anything together right.”

-Bill Thomson, 11 years

“First three months I built nothing but [Adirondack] chair parts… I had no idea we made anything else until one morning they told me, ‘you’re making Mission furniture today.’ I said, ‘What the heck is Mission furniture?’ [Chuckles]”

-Charlie Curtis, 11 years

“I remember the 6891’s, a Microwave Cart we did for J.C. Penney, and there were oodles of us everywhere working hard to get a shipment out on Black Friday. Everybody working hard to get it done… I’ve always enjoyed assembly and appreciate how they’ve always promoted within the company.”

-Garnet Matteson, 27 years

“I’ve enjoyed being in packing. Every day is a new day down here. I’ve designed packs for products that the box companies have started to use because they liked the design so much.”

-John Cook, 14 years

Thank you to all our dedicated employees, past and present!

Enter our #4for40Giveaway: 1 Best-Selling Item Over 40 years Given Away Each Week for October

#MyNeckoftheWoods Series

Part 7: #MyNeckoftheWoods “Our Home” Series

September 16, 2016
Part7 Blog Header

Manchester Wood employees, September 2016.

Behind the story of Chris, is the story of all of us. Artisans, woodworkers… all here to provide quality furniture from our home to yours.

Written by Luke Eriksen, Vice President

Before AutoCAD and CNC Programming there was graph paper, a ruler, and a sharpened pencil. That is where our company began 40 years ago. Prior to our company’s beginnings our founder, my grandfather, Cliff Pierce started a career in manufacturing as a tool and die maker.

Tool and die makers aren’t found sitting in an office behind a desk. They are in the middle of the dust and grease, a critical cog in the wheel of factory production each day.  They’re a class of machinists all onto themselves. They make jigs, fixtures, dies, molds, machine tools, cutting tools, gauges, and other tools used in manufacturing processes.

That trade and way of thinking never left my grandfather. Our humble beginning in the basement of his house, to his own factory floor and eventually in the office behind a desk making sales with the biggest retailers in the country.

“We’re just a bunch of farmers,” he’d jovially tell people when explaining his business. Not actually tilling the soil of course though he did own a farm, but more as a way of thinking. In many ways he was and in many ways we still are. Simple. Real. Truthful. Honest. Matter of fact. Nothing more, nothing less.

I fondly remember flying with him and my family to Florida years ago sitting next to him on the plane. It left a lasting impression on me as I watched him pull out his graph paper and pencil, and watched him sketch out a rough idea for a new product. I asked him for an extra piece of paper and I tried to replicate what he was doing. He never stopped designing. He never stopped working.

The #MyNeckoftheWoods series has been really fun to watch unfold. In a small way, it provides a behind the scenes peek at who we are as we highlighted some of the cool things Chris Bowlen is up to. Be sure to check out our new Herrick Brook collection. Like everything else from Manchester Wood, it began with a sketch.

Stay tuned for next month’s special 40th anniversary giveaway series as a token of appreciation. Also, we’ll hopefully get some pictures up from our celebration towards the end of October.

What products speak to your home and area? Tell us by commenting on our Facebook wall or tweeting #MyNeckoftheWoods @manchesterwood

#MyNeckoftheWoods Series

Part 6: #MyNeckoftheWoods “Our Home” Series

September 6, 2016
Chris clocks in at the mill [Manchester Wood] in Granville, New York.

Chris clocks in at the mill [Manchester Wood] in Granville, New York.

Back at it. After the dust settles from a long weekend celebrating the American worker, Chris and company are clocked in.

Written by Eric Henzie, Marketing Executive

Last week was Chris’ opportunity to leave a mark. No breaks, skipping lunch & hustling all week to create several new samples for a large retail client. This week had a nice reward, Labor Day.

Returning to the office on Tuesday morning after realizing there are no more beaches, fewer barbeques, and less sunshine can be difficult. But take heart the last day of summer is technically more than three weeks away. Chris came back to work recharged and eager to put his final touches on samples he and the team completed for an upcoming Orvis catalog shoot. His work was the focus of meetings held later in the day to tighten up schematics and instructions for our upcoming product launch – Herrick Brook Collection (product launch coming in Part 7).

Labor Day is an annual workers’ holiday in observance of the many achievements of American workers. The American Pride we possess, the grit and determination to get things done right was first celebrated by the Central Labor Union of New York in 1882. The idea eventually caught on, and on June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday.

I like holidays like Labor Day, where expectations are relatively low (no gifts or cards!), where the only requirement is to relax and have a good time. Most of us have the day off for picnics, parades and the last long weekend of the summer. Labor Day always feels bittersweet to me. Although fall is my favorite season, I still can’t bear to see the long, laid back days of summer, lightening bugs and swimming holes come to an end. It won’t be long now until shorts will give way to sweaters and Friday night football games will take the place of evenings fly fishing on the river.

How important is buying American workers’ products to you? Do you own something that’s special that represents American made quality? Tell us by commenting on our Facebook wall or tweeting #MyNeckoftheWoods @manchesterwood

Labor Day Wall Post Banner

Stay tuned for Part 7…