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Thread: Victim of the Times....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    WNY, Buffalo Area

    Victim of the Times....

    For over the past two years I have been working part time at my local WoodCraft store. I was there helping to stock and merchandising the store before their opening day. This was what I told customers was my "fun job", as opposed to my full time job which pays the bills.

    Two weeks ago after one of my pen classes, the owners told me that they were going to have to close the store. There were a number of factors that lead to the closing. The poor economy, people buying online (to dodge the local sales tax), just to name a few. In all honesty It wasn't a surprise when they told me that. It was just something that I was hoping wasn't going to happen. Our sales have been poor, and this has been impacting the ability to order in more products. Thus the cycle begins, low inventory=low sales....low sales=can't afford to buy more inventory...... eventually you can't pay the operating costs anymore.

    Anyways when they told me they were going to close, they said it would likely be at some point next week, but they didn't have any dates yet. I had a pen class scheduled for Thursday, which was sold out , so I decided to stop in after work to see what the state of things were. Thats when the owner greeted me with the news that today was going to be the last day of operation. When they closed the doors, it was the end. The owner had left a message on my machine at home, asking me to call her, but seeing as I went to the store straight from the other job I never got the message.

    While working there, I learned a tremendous amount about woodworking and turning. I went from not knowing anything about making pens to becoming a fairly experienced pen turner, and even on to be an instructor there for 3 different pen turning classes (introductory slimline in wood, introductory Wall St.II in acrylic, and a more advanced cigar pen in wood). The introductory slim line pen class was the most popular of any class held at the store.

    I think the thing I take the most pride in, was having someone with no prior turning (or pen turning) experience take the basic class, and then come in a week or two later showing off pens that he was now making on his own.

    Also there were several father/son and father/daughter pairs that took my classes. I enjoyed giving them a ability to start a hobby together and carry the craft on to the next generation.

    One other memorable pen turning student was a Major in a local US Army reserve unit. He was going to be deploying to Iraq, and he wanted to learn how to make pens, so in his free time over there, he would have something to do. He walked out of the class with a new hobby (and his first pen in hand), which would hopefully help relieve some of the stress he would be under during his deployment.

    All in all, I only worked a few hours a week so it wasn't like it made a big difference to our finances. It was more the joy of doing something that you like and getting payed for it... and the employee discount wasn't a bad perk either. I worked with some great people. The owners, Bruce & Sally were great to work for, and I wouldn't hesitate to work for them again if they were to ever call me.
    We create with our hands in wood what our mind sees in thought.
    Disclosure: Formerly was a part-time sales person & instructor at WoodCraft in Buffalo, NY.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    Sad sign of the times. I know I miss going to the local wood craft here in Reno. The guy that owned the woodcraft has a new store, and I try to stop by there once a month or so, but like you said, the inventory cycle can be an issue...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Indianapolis area
    I hate to see someone lose their "fun job". But at the same time I do understand the reasons why they had to close the store. We had a Woodcraft in Indy that closed several years ago. A new store opened just a few years ago and is a great place to visit. A knowledgeable staff and good inventory are pluses. It's a 90 mile round trip is the minus. They get some of my money. Rockler is just a mile detour on the way to Woodcraft. It's nice to have both of them here.


    "Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."
    Vince Lombardi

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Sorry to see the news. Sign of the times, indeed. Looking at the smiles in the group photo, I can see why you didn't want the gig to end. It's always a great feeling to teach someone a new skill that you know they'll enjoy for the rest of their life.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
    I know too many people in a similar boat including my next-door-neighbor. He worked for Gator Aid until they closed the plant due to poor sales. They started making the GA in a Pepsi plant (the parent company). However, that leaves him and three teen-agers and no work.

    You don't have the job. You didn't really NEED the job. Look at it as time to play. Sooner or later the economy will improve and this "vacation" will be over. So Enjoy,

    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Honolulu, Hawaii

    Victim of the Times....

    Sorry to hear this Sean. Hope things will improve soon.

    Our Woodcraft store here ih Honolulu is doing great. In fact it has expanded to nearly double size. And here is the most expensive place to do business.

    Chin up.

    Aloha, Tony
    "You got to learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself". (Author unknown)

    "Time flies like..... an arrow,,,Fruit flies like..... a banana." Groucho Marx

    Ah,,,to live in Paradise!

    Registered voting member

    Fighting for all I am worth, and praying every day.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    That really stinks Sean. I hope all the full time folks can find a new job soon.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Central NY State
    Sean, any way you can continue to give classes [and charge for it] in your own shop?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    North West Indiana
    Sean, we had a store in Merrelville that also went under. It is where I took my pen turning class also. Will be forever in that man's debt for that opportunity. I was so sorry to hear of it going under as it was his retirement plan. He had left the corporate world, cashed in his retirement and was very hopeful. I pray he has found peace and prosperity.
    Ken, I would imagine insurance would be the big factor, but wondered if Sean could get a deal on a couple lathes and do that. I bought seven lathes from the school when my man updated the store's shop lathes. Worth a shot Sean.
    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake.

    I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place.

    Premier Bovine Scatologist


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Central NY State
    Jonathan, you may be right about insurance. When I took my one-on-one chair learning, I had to sign a disclaimer before I picked up a tool.

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