|Parkersburg, WV - Established back in 1928, there’s a powerhouse of a company located in Parkersburg that has grown to become one of the leaders in its industry with operations in most every major metropolitan area in the country.
Woodcraft Supply, LLC is one of the nation’s oldest and largest suppliers of quality woodworking tools and supplies. Need Swiss-made carving tools? How about bench chisels? Got power tools? Woodworkers can get these tools and much more through the company’s 80-store national network, 9,000-item catalogue and comprehensive online presence (www.woodcraft.com).
Woodcraft Supply, LLC operates under the brand “Woodcraft”, and until recently, was a subsidiary of the Parkersburg-based SBR Companies. The sale of SBR – which included Simonton Windows – to Fortune Brands was announced in February. Sam Ross will remain a principal in Woodcraft Supply, LLC. The multi-channel retailer will remain the parent organization to Woodcraft Magazine.
Founded 78 years ago in a one-room shop in Boston, Massachusetts, Woodcraft has grown tremendously over the years. The company was relocated to Parkersburg in 1989 and since then has employed a combination of quality products with cutting edge marketing techniques to position itself as a multi-channel industry leader for woodworking tools, supplies and advice among the estimated 40 million U.S. woodworkers.
Jeff Forbes, President of Woodcraft Supply LLC, said, “We are a unique company, providing products to woodworkers everywhere. I believe we’ve been successful because our focus on the customer and our commitment to provide exceptional products has never wavered. Our growth has been fueled by the passion our store owners bring to the business and by taking advantage of the opportunities arising from the Internet.”
Forbes said the company’s continued success depends upon Woodcraft keeping in front of its customers and working to bring new people into woodworking. Forbes explained. “We hope to cultivate interest by introducing younger people to woodworking and by continuing to provide excellent service and quality, hard-to-find tools to our experienced woodworkers enhancing their expertise.”
Woodcraft pursues these strategies aggressively and is an expert at multi-channel marketing. The company mails more than 3 million catalogues and sends hundreds of thousands of sales-related flyers, postcards, electronic newsletters and e-mails annually. The company’s Website, woodcraft.com, like the catalogue, is a trusted friend among woodworkers, and offers a wealth of information, services and products.
New ventures include publishing Woodcraft Magazine. Woodcraft Magazine is a nationally-distributed magazine which publishes six issues a year and is packed with projects, people and products that appeal to woodworkers of all skill levels.
Woodcraft also advertises heavily in the print and electronic woodworking media. The company is a sponsor of the nationally syndicated Homefront with Don Zeman radio program and the DIY television network.
While all these efforts are important to positioning the Woodcraft brand in front of their customers, the linchpin to the company’s success – and to some degree the continued growth of the hobby itself – may lie with Woodcraft’s serious focus on woodworking education.
All Woodcraft stores across the country have on-site woodworking classrooms where customers can experiment with new tools or products, take classes and workshops, or participate in project demonstrations.
The company also offers a curriculum of woodworking courses that help build skills in graduated steps. Just as one would choose an area of study in college, hobbyists or professionals can choose the woodworking subjects in which they are most interested. Ten subject areas are offered, and include: Bandsaw, Carving, Finishing, Joinery, Router, Scroll Saw, Sharpening, Table Saw, Turning, and Elective. Each subject offers its own unique set of classes.
To facilitate youth involvement in woodworking, Woodcraft recently launched My First Project®. This exciting new initiative was collaboratively developed by Woodcraft and West Virginia educators, in association with the West Virginia Education Alliance’s Partnership in Education program. My First Project® combines curriculum content standards and objectives with interactive woodworking projects.
The program is designed to teach elementary school students how to construct a birdhouse and other beginner’s projects. Teachers receive individual project kits, a lesson plan, student workbooks and individual tool sets. Students learn math through measuring and calculating; social sciences through lesson plans focused on bird conservation and habitat; reading comprehension via workbook exercises; and much, much more.
Additionally, the individual wood project kits are manufactured in Franklin, West Virginia. And, West Virginia University offers professional development credits to teachers who complete an online course on how to present the program in the classroom. My First Project® is fast becoming an all-around win for Woodcraft and the state of West Virginia, and will soon be offered nationally.
Through education, marketing and hands-on, personal assistance, Woodcraft is aggressively constructing its own future. And, while Woodcraft’s slogan is “Helping You Make Wood Work.” It just as easily could be “Making Wood Work for West Virginia.”
“Our dedicated employees have helped build a company that is known worldwide as a leader in the woodworking industry,” Forbes said. “And, we are very proud to say we’ve done this right here in West Virginia.”