MiVT: Cobble Mountain Hammock Co.

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 2:50 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Nancy and Gordon Kittredge have been in East Corinth, Vermont, for a long time.

“I love this community. We were very fortunate to find this old bobbin mill back in 1986,” Gordon said.

“Which at the time had been vacant for 15 years. The roof leaked, every window was broken, it had no plumbing or electricity -- and we said, ‘Aw this is perfect,’” finished Nancy.

These two aren’t just “hanging” out in their old mill building. They’re the folks who make the iconic Cobble Mountain Hammock.

Gordon started making hammocks in the 1980s to put himself through school, and kept it up until he could find a better job.

“And so we flash forward 40 years now and here I am still making hanging chairs and tying knots,” he said.

Their unique hammock chair hybrids offer the comfort of a hammock with the support of a chair. The design is patented, and it’s the only design like it that allows users to adjust the height without unhooking the hammock. Gordon accidentally engineered the design while trying to make a plant hanger.

“I discovered I couldn’t make any money-making plant hangers,” he laughed.

After roping his wife, Nancy, into it, the two worked as their business took off. Their small team used to turn out thousands of these annually, but that number has since dropped.

“The work to headache ratio was way, way off. So, we purposely let the business decline down to a place where we have a very comfortable work to benefit ratio,” Gordon explained.

He and Nancy are both adamant that their craft has never been about the money.

All made completely by hand using nothing but rope and wood, now they’ve dropped their orders down to a manageable level.

However, the Cobble Mountain Hammock Company still has a three- to four-month backlog. Orders piled up during COVID business closures. They had to close their shop to employees, but Nancy and Gordon kept working.

“I’m just guessing here, but people really figured out how to shop online,” said Gordon.

Rest assured, we’re told the product is well worth the wait.

“We’re making something that is providing comfort to somebody. Somebody is going to get this chair and sit down and say, ‘Ahh, this is the best thing ever,’” said Nancy.

“Seems so every year that we get a call from a carpenter somewhere in the country who says he’s building a sunroom for Mrs. Jones and the sunroom was being built just so they could hang up a couple of these chairs,” Gordon said.

These hanging chairs start at around $300 and ship all around the world. But no matter where they end up, each chair starts with Nancy and Gordon at their old mill in Vermont

“It’s still just a labor of love. You know, one chair at a time,” Gordon said.

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