.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;} &>

Monday, August 18, 2008

Business in Schroon Lake and Keene Valley

On Monday, August 11, I visited with a number of businesses in the Lower Adirondacks and the High Peaks.

South of Schroon Lake on Rte. 9 Sculptures by Frank, though closed on Mondays, displayed two very visible big signs, www.SculpturesbyFrank.com and Chainsaw Art, as well as product by the road. The signs said it all. Two recently emptied spots in his 3 display areas and one large bench marked sold indicate sales. Frank also has two demonstration areas. The large area, screened in with 3 benches made by him for spectators, had 8 pieces in progress. The chainsaw bears holding welcome signs, beehives, fish, and dressed in coveralls or in baseball uniforms had prices ranging from $85 to $400. 800 # on all price tags. Custom signs and camp wood also for sale.

A little farther north, stil south of the village of Schroon Lake on Rte. 9, Darlene Gregson, Adirondack Rustics Gallery, and I had time to talk. A family came and went. They are coming back. The rustic creations of the Gregson family and other makers are beautifully displayed in a gallery setting. I sat in Sweetie, the only rocking chair not yet sold out of six put out in the gallery early last week. I noticed sold marked on three pieces with prices at $6000, $1200 and $800.

Sweetie, with Barry's trademark seat shaped to fit, is a rocking chair perfectly sized for a woman. I, of course, did not want to leave the chair. Another trademark of the Gregsons, the tactile feel of the wood, I experienced in touching the rockers themselves. So soft. And the rocker kept on rocking after I left.

Darlene said that the ebb and flow of the economy does not seem to impact their buyers, especially collectors. After 29 years in the business, the collectors' children are now buying pieces for their own homes. More and more new customers, Darlene does note, ask immediately "is anything here made in China." It seems that some new customers have bought rustic product elsewhere throughout the region not realizing that it was made in China until closer examination at home.

Matthew, Dylan and Skye are creating/evolving the next generation of rustic collaborating with Barry, their father. Skye is one of the women rustic furniture makers depicted in Bim Willow's upcoming book, Women and Rustic. She also was filmed for an University of NC Woodwright episode titled Making Rustic Furniture last Oct. and has been in numerous other documentaries. Barry was awarded the TAUNY Heritage Award in 2006 as was, Darlene said, a dear friend, Tom Porter, an Indian Traditionalist. The Gregsons continue to "refine and redefine rustic." Barry and Matthew's work will be at the Rustic Fair, http://www.adkmuseum.org/exhibits_and_events/special_events/detail/?id=36 held at the Adirondack Museum on Sept. 6 and 7. http://www.adirondackrustic.com/ or http://www.forestinspiredfurnishings.com/.

In the village of Schroon Lake, the Morning Star Bistro (the owner, a faithful Buyer Days buyer attendee) was packed at 3 oclock in the afternoon. Joanie's Goodies and the gourmet coffeeshop across the street also had a number of tables with customers. The Towne Store was busy - again it was past 3 oclock - the staff had finally found a moment to eat lunch.

In the Towne Store second floor gallery, the regional and American artist and artisan product is grouped together by creator and typically includes some bio information. This store has an huge amount of gift product, including souvenir, country, clothing; a mix of made in China, made in America and made regionally. the owner, Patti Mehn, is offering a series of workshops from mid August to late September as one of the next steps to growing the gallery.

The Towne Store, Morning Star Bistro and other shops sell locally made work which cannot be found outside the Schroon Lake region. Some of the local artists are Tess Daley from Schroon Lake who sells not only her original folkart paintings but postcards and jigsaw puzzles of the same, Mary Stewart's lovely raku pieces, Patti Mehn (owner of the Towne Store) and business partner Renee Headings' bronze cold cast and powder coated silhouette door knockers, Randercko birch tree candle holders and Elizabeth Martin's Wallhangings (her Bear Trail Fiber Wallhanging is beautiful). In Morning Star Bistro, Rustic Charm Pottery has some very saleable lines.

My next stop was with Steve Bowers, Bald Mountain Rustics of Keene Valley, who was filmed this spring (2008) for the PBS Rustic Living TV segment on the evolution of the Westport chair, http://www.mountainlake.org/programming/our_series/rustic_living.html, a 13 half hour series seen on Tuesdays at 9 pm on Channel 57 in the northeast of the Adk North Country region.

He plans to have his root-based Westport Chair finished for the annual Rustic Fair http://www.adkmuseum.org/exhibits_and_events/special_events/detail/?id=36 held at the Adirondack Museum on Sept. 6 and 7. From his sketch it looks like it is an extraordinary piece, combining seamlessly the Adirondack chair style with the rustic. I might have to go just to see the chair.

Steve gives each of his clients a frameable sketch of their piece. This is one of the many ways Steve has, in 3 years, attracted such a client base that he has doubled sales every year and is booked for the next 12 months. Steve is one of the best examples I have seen of someone from the corporate world where his speciality was to start or turn over companies, transitioning successfully into the one man business world. While working for the corporate world out of Northern New Jersey, he began building rustic furniture and his portfolio during a 10 year period.

He was driving through Keene Valley five years ago, took photos of a house along Rte. 73 and, a week later, owned it. He renovated the house and landscaped it from a bare yard into a plant, bush, flower, and vine filled haven and built a workshop in the back overlooking the river that looks like it's always been there.

Three years ago he committed full time to making and selling rustic furniture and has not stopped since. The ground floor of his home, which is his storefront, also includes work from other creators, some from the region such as Glen Bowers (no relation) whose color painting on board of a bear emerging through woods is striking. The fiber wall hanging of a colorful fish made by a friend from New Mexico and the lamp with root and smooth stones base made by another friend from around Buffalo, NY enhance the bigger pieces.

The Cedar Run Bakery/Restaurant in Keene and the Ausable Club for which he built many table and chairs as custom orders refer people to him regularly. Steve, I stopped by the Cedar Run Bakery to buy some of their delicious frozen premade lasagna for dinner and said I was admiring the tables and chairs. The waitress, of her own initiative, gave me your business card. Nice!

Labels: , , , , , , ,


  • Hey! This is Frank Cavoli Jr. from Sculptures By Frank! Thanks for the mention in the blog, it's really great! Our website is down now but should be up by next week (9/14/08). Thanks and keep up the great work!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:34 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home