Audra was tentative when she walked into the Hardwood Artisans store in Fairfax, Virginia. She knew she had a somewhat unusual problem. You see, she was the owner of two turtles and lived in a limited space apartment in Reston, Virginia. She needed an attractive and functional way to house these pets and wasn’t sure she would be taken seriously.
Luckily, she ran into Greg Gloor, the person who started Hardwood Artisans 35 years ago. And equally lucky for her, he had also kept turtles (and an iguana, and a corn snake) as pets. He knew he could design and build exactly what she needed.
Hardwood Artisans has been building superior hardwood furniture by hand since its creation in 1976 and now employs 75 people. They build furniture, kitchens, and much more their woodshop in Woodbridge, Virginia and invite each customer to come in and see how their piece being made. Customers come to Hardwood Artisans with problems of space and design hoping for a solution. Greg Gloor has become a professional at creating a solution for just about any problem.
“I never know what piece of my past I will need to call on to help solve a customer’s problem,” said Greg. “I try to approach each new customer with a blank slate and actually listen for what’s needed and wanted. I try to see it from their point of view, and put together something that works for them.”
Greg wanted to be sure the turtles could be easily played with and their cages could easily be cleaned. He and craftsman Kevin Parker designed a special system so that the turtles home could be pulled out and the front of the drawer could come off.
This “care for the customer” approach has been the hallmark of this unique local custom furniture manufacturer. Purchasing made-to-order furniture could be intimidating unless the people you are working with are really on your side.
“This was not our standard turtle credenza,” laughed Kevin Parker, the craftsman assigned to build the piece. “Greg had gotten the project pretty far along. He handed it off to me and made sure I had the general idea; then he left the details up to my judgment. I really appreciate this level of freedom and confidence.” Kevin is certainly someone who could be trusted with the job. He has been a master craftsman at Hardwood Artisans for 15 years and is also an avid naturalist and bird watcher. He does volunteer work and guided tours for the Prince William Conservation Alliance. Kevin knows woodworking and turtles.
“I LOVE IT!!” gushed Audra to Ricardo Berrum, one of the current owners. “Please thank everyone for me. It is absolutely amazing. The sliding drawers and the removable doors were GENIUS! This was a breeze to set up and the pets settled right in.
I can’t say enough about how great this cabinet turned out, it was 100% what I wanted plus tons that I didn’t even know I could have.”