Old hands start new business in Lawrenceburg

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By Jay Cason

The lives and business interests of two skilled craftsmen, who hail from the opposite sides of the continental United States, recently converged in Anderson County. The end result is the creation of a new business in downtown Lawrenceburg — Lawrenceburg Woodworking & Cabinet.

“I moved here a year ago,” said Scott Ferguson, who initiated the new business enterprise. “I moved here because my wife (the former Edath Bowen) is a lifetime resident of Anderson County.

“When I moved here, I was working for a cabinet company. But I decided to start my own company because I didn’t like working for someone else. My idea was to combine Adirondack furniture that I’d been making for 20 years with cabinets and counter tops.”

Adirondack-style furniture has been good to Ferguson — very good, he said.

“I moved from Oregon to Louisville in 1990,” Ferguson explained. “I had been making pottery, but decided to change to making furniture. I started with Adirondacks because they are easy to make.”

Ferguson became so proficient with the Adirondacks that he eventually was able to sell six of his chairs to one of the Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville operations when it partnered with Universal Studios and opened a store in Orlando, Fla. in the late 1990s. The exposure gained from that sale helped his business grow to be worth about $1 million.

But after his first marriage failed in 2003, Ferguson had to start over.

“I’ve had several starts and stops since then,” he said.

Initially, Ferguson planned to start his Lawrenceburg business by himself. He wasn’t looking for a partner.

“This was going to be a one-man operation, until David popped in,” Ferguson said. “I hadn’t planned on hiring anyone. But he offered to work for free. After he painted the whole store front in one day, I started thinking.”

After learning more about David Christiansen, Ferguson decided not to hire him, but to offer him a partnership instead.

“We each get a portion (of the profit) and the business gets a portion,” Ferguson said. “David brought to the table all the skills I have, and more. It was a perfect fit.

“He had been building yachts and the furniture for them.”

Like Ferguson, Christiansen is a transplant from another state — Florida. Also like his new partner, it was family ties that brought him to the area.

“My son-in-law is the local Marine recruiter,” explained Christiansen. “We moved here from St. Pete (St. Petersburg, Fla.).”

While both craftsmen come from a furniture-making background, they realized their new business would need to offer more than just hand-made furniture, especially given the current economy.

“We have to do other stuff,” Christiansen said. “If it’s made out of wood, we do it. We do the design and millwork. Or if someone brings in a picture, we’ll do our best to duplicate it and at a reasonable cost.

“And with housing and the economy the way it is, a lot of people want to refurbish their homes (instead of purchasing a new home). That’s where we come in.”

The diversity of services the partners offer has already paid dividends.

“Recently we’ve been doing more cabinets and kitchen upgrades,” Ferguson said. “But overall, the revenue has been split pretty evenly, about 30 percent countertops, 30 percent chairs and 30 percent cabinets.

Lawrenceburg Woodworking & Cabinet is located at 124 S. Main St. in downtown Lawrenceburg.

For more information call Ferguson at 502-523-1401, Christiansen at 727-366-2067 or contact the business online at shadypalmsgallery@gmail.com or visit their website, shadypalmsgallery.com.

E-mail Jay Cason at jcason@theandersonnews.com.