Woodworkers grow up with Downtown Market | PostIndependent.com

Woodworkers grow up with Downtown Market

Julie Larson
Glenwood Downtown Market

We are officially in summer time now, and on the summer solstice I was feeling so grateful. Grateful to live somewhere with seasonality, an active and vibrant community that makes our little market possible, and really grateful for the market and our vendors.

Last Tuesday, I spoke with Jennifer Matthews about her family's booth, Handcrafted by Little Hands, and she gave me some background in how their company started back in 2012.

Jennifer and Rob have three children; Zechariah was 9, Sarah was 7 and Adam was 4 when the company started. Zechariah had gone to work with Rob at the Summers Architectural Moldings business in Carbondale, and he would observe how the products were made. Then he would bring home some of the scrap wood that would have otherwise been thrown away and try to replicate what he had watched. He decided to surprise his parents by making his first cutting board, it was made of walnut and made totally in secret. It definitely was a pleasant surprise to Jennifer and Rob, who bought that board for $7.

Zechariah's parents said that if he wanted to make more cutting boards they could help him sell them, and they thought of Glenwood's Downtown Market. So they called and talked with our original board members and got on for the summer. Jennifer told me they thought maybe they would sell eight to nine boards back in 2012 and they sold 99 cutting boards over eight Tuesdays. And every board was made in their kitchen that first year, so before every meal they would have to clean up the sawdust from that day's work.

By the end of that summer, visitors were asking for business cards and website information so they could continue to place orders. They did not originally have a name but came up with Handcrafted by Little Hands because all of the children were helping with this entrepreneurial endeavor.

On the way home at night after each market Zechariah would count the money and get so excited, his parents took the whole process into a great learning experience for the kids. The company has evolved, and they now have a shed in which the woodworking is completed, and Zechariah is interested in pursuing building artistic furniture as a career. It was really inspiring to hear how the company started and to see what it has grown into.

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This talented family really is so grateful for the opportunities provided to them to be this successful, to Rob's focus on being entrepreneurial, Summers Architectural Moldings for the scrap wood in the start and encouragement, to the companies that allow their kids to sell their products in store —Book Grove, Book Train, and Treadz. They also are grateful to Vicki Lee Green Realtors who have supported them from the first year, and to our market for letting the kids set up.

Stop by our market from 4-8 p.m. today in Centennial Park and say hello to Handcrafted by Little Hands. While you are here grab a chair and enjoy tunes from the great Defiance String Band. We have great hot food vendors and other delicious foods to fill your appetite. Don't forget we continue to double up EBT and WIC up to $20. We look forward to seeing you there.