Rustic furniture is the most rapidly growing sector of the furniture industry and one Vermont company is feeling the fury with orders coming in fast.
The Vermont Cedar Chair Company in Hardwick isn't exactly your typical woodshop.
From a young and eclectic staff to a unique product, the locally harvested white cedar is turned into rustic furniture made to last a lifetime.
Jason Lutz started the company five years ago.
"This chair I knew the second we made it, it had a lot of potential," said Lutz.
Reporter Gina Bullard: Why? What was it about the chair?
Lutz: It was unique, and it was comfortable.
Lutz came up with the idea when he was in Jamaica for a summer. He designed a bamboo chair but wasn't fully ready to start a company. It wasn't until he was back in Vermont at his mom's house that it fell into place.
His mom hired a logger to thin out her cedar stand, but the logger clear cut everything.
"I went up the stand and started surveying damage and realized everything he left was perfect to make our chairs and it was just laying there," said Lutz.
The logger left the unwanted samplings behind. A light bulb went off.
Now, Vermont Cedar Chair Company harvests the trees that other people don't want and they all come from a 30 mile radius. The rocker and Adirondack chairs are the most popular.
Bullard: It doesn't look like the most comfortable chair.
Lutz: That's why I tell people you have to sit in it to believe it, we've taken the concept of a hammock.
Bullard: I do feel the seat moving, what is that?
Lutz: That’s what we call the suspension seat.
The furniture is green, made with rot resistant materials.
White cedar is known for being resistant to bugs and weather and the chairs are weaved together with manila fiber, which was used for old ship riggings because of its durability and longevity. The chairs are guaranteed for life and if there are any problems, you can bring it back and get a new one.
"This chair will last theoretically 20 years with no maintenance outside," said Lutz.
Lutz got a mechanical engineering degree in college, which has come in handy streamlining the production process. He says that helps keep costs down, they retail for $295 and up. Lutz has no formal furniture training but learned from his mom. It runs in his blood.
"On her side, three generations back they had the largest furniture company in the world called Grand Rapids Chair Company," said Lutz.
Vermont Cedar Chair Company has tripled production this year, turning out between 10 and 14 chairs a day.
They are sold all over the United States and will be in some national chains soon.
"We believe that made in Vermont and made in America says quality and we want to stand behind it," said Lutz.
A Made in Vermont furniture company that's grown from the ground up and is rocking to its own beat.
Vermont Cedar Chair Company is also catching national attention. It's slated to be on the show Shark Tank very soon.
PO Box 4508