CHARACTER WOOD FURNITURE - OPPORTUNITIES FOR BUILDING A RURAL BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Small Business Information
Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, VT, 05482
AbstractAdding value to an undervalued forest resource at the local level will benefit the economic, ecological and cultural health or rural forest dependent communities. A large percentage of hardwood is relegated to low value uses by virtue of naturally occurring character (knots, coloration, etc.). Many rural communities have abundant supplies of low value wood yet few opportunities currently exist to derive substantial economic benefit from this resource. Beeken/Parsons proposes to produce high value furniture from character wood in a way that builds upon the capacity of rural northern Vermont. Phase I research revealed broad market potential for fine furniture made with character wood and identified factors critical to consumer acceptance of this furniture. Now the most efficient means of maximizing economic and social benefits must be determined. Phase II will explore methods by which a rural community can sustain its timber and manufacturing resources and retain marketing and distribution profits. This research will 1) develop and analyze techniques which efficiently address the harvesting, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution challenges unique to character marked wood and 2) test the hypothesis that a symbiotic community of rural manufacturing and marketing businesses is a practical and feasible way to maximize local economic benefit.
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