MiVT: Hillcrest Chairs
CABOT, Vt. (WCAX) - Richard Ducharme was born and raised on a chunk of land in Cabot. He’s never left, except to serve in Vietnam.
“Little piece of heaven on top of this hill, that’s why it’s Hillcrest, so... there you go,” Ducharme said.
He knows, like many other Vermonters, just how long and gray winters can be. That’s why he picked one colorful hobby.
“Winters are long, and I need something to do so I started 20 years ago, made the first few and it’s grown ever since,” he said.
He calls it Hillcrest Chairs, and says as long as people keep wanting them, he’ll keep making them.
Inside his workshop, he builds Adirondack chairs, loveseats and gliders, which he says he designed himself.
“It takes me all winter, so I’m busy seven days a week out here. I got a warm place, this is what I wear even when it’s 20 below. In here, it’s a short-sleeve environment in here,” Ducharme said.
All winter, he works to stockpile his popular chairs and stows them away until the spring months when customers begin rolling in.
Ducharme says most people show up at his Cabot workshop to pick their chairs. Some send in orders from all over New England or across the country. One chair will set you back about $250.
And while you can find these chairs all over the country, the wood to make them could not be more local to Vermont.
“I harvest my own trees, my logs up here in the neighborhood. My neighbors are good to me. Takes about a year for it to dry,” he explained.
With a few days’ notice, he’ll paint them whatever color the people want.
“I got over a dozen colors, so we got quite a rainbow of colors,” he said.
And once they get their three coats, “Out the door they go!”
Sometimes, he enlists his wife, Sandy, an artist, to do some painting on the chairs. It’s just one way to help make customers happy.
“You know, we can do ‘bout anything to jazz them up and make them look good,” Ducharme said. “They’re on the front porch, so let’s make it look good so when people come in they say, ‘Wow, where’d ya get that?’ ‘Oh, from a guy up in Cabot.’”
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