A Heritage in Wood
In 1960, under the name of “Furniture by Thurston,” Maxine and Harmon Thurston tried their hands at making coffee tables that could be shipped knocked down. It wasn’t until Maxine was unable to find a footstool for herself that they decided they should make footstools. With a set of simple tools in a one-car barn located in rural Vermont, the Thurston’s were in business! They initially sold through local craft shows, but things really took off when the Thurston’s ran a small advertisement in Yankee Magazine. The increased business allowed them to expand into other products.
“We grew from stools to wagon seats, benches, and anything with a straight line cut.”
Moving into a succession of larger shops over the years, they eventually settled into their current location in the town of Brandon, VT. In 1972, they began to sell a variety of furniture, including bedroom sets to Workbench stores in New York City, as well as to the college market. The company name was officially changed to New England Woodcraft in 1976, and while the business was growing steadily, there were a few setbacks. In 1985, an electrical fire burned the machine shop and the warehouse to the ground. Quick action on Harmon’s part saved the 32,000 sqft assembly shop and within six days they were shipping again without missing any delivery dates