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MiVT: J.K. Adams

Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 12:48 PM EDT
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DORSET, Vt. (WCAX) - The folks at Dorset’s J.K. Adams have their sights set on one mighty goal.

“We would very much like for J.K. Adams to be on the table of every household in America,” CEO Daniel Isaac said.

It’s something they’ve been working on since opening in 1944, but their products were not always kitchen and entertainment wares.

“The initial product was called the Speedy Racer, it was a small little wooden toy built in the ‘40s. And then from there, through the ‘60s we were really well-known for schematics equipment, for surveying equipment and things like that,” explained Sean Osborne, the creative director.

After doing that for a while, they started selling seconds to the locals, which is how they got into cutting boards and the like. Some 75 years later, they’re still at it.

“We’re really well known in our industry for quality, and for using North American hardwoods,” Osborne said. “Sustainably harvested, sustainably forested. The bulk majority comes from the U.S., some is from Canada.”

That quality is what’s kept them going for more than seven decades. It’s also what’s landed them wholesale work for major brands in the U.S., like Williams Sonoma and Crate & Barrel.

Eighty percent of what they do is wholesale, and the rest is shipped direct to consumers or sold in the retail shop.

“People know our brand for the quality aspect. We have customers come back to us with their carving boards from Thanksgiving from the ‘60s that they asked us to repair, which of course we do. But we are trying to toe the line of modernity in some of our products, but keeping that traditional sense,” Osborne said.

In the workshop, the machines range from vintage cutters to state-of-the-art technology.

The people that work them, in some cases, have been there almost as long, like Janice Corey. While she’s not working with any wood products, she does serve as the production planner. She’s going on 56 years with the company.

“I like what I do. I’ve had a lot of opportunities over the years,” she said.

“The one that made the biggest change was when we got our computer system. Our first computer back in 1985. That really changed a lot for us,” Corey said.

The traditional roots of J.K. Adams make it familiar to Vermonters, but the quality of products has allowed them to spread nationwide.

Something this good could only be made in Vermont.

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