Beyond the Build

Local Craftsmen

How a Maine Furniture Maker Taught Me to Make Time for My Passion

As business leaders, we often get so immersed in our vocation that we forget all about our avocation.

I was reminded of this a few years ago when I took a trip to New England. I was driving through Freeport, Maine and happened to see a sign for the Thos. Moser shop in town. The name stood out from a conversation I had years earlier. I heard that as a college professor Tom had a love for teaching English, but his passion was design and furniture making. He left his established career to pursue his passion and started a business with little more than that. The story of his courage and his wife Mary’s support has always stayed with me, so when chance gave me the opportunity to explore his shop I took it.

Steve Wyman, who manages of the store (but in reality does much more), greeted me and thus began my education of the Thos. Moser company. Over the next several months, we stayed in touch and I ended up purchasing one of The New Gloucester Rockers for our conference room. The rocker was actually designed about 30 years ago and been a popular choice for consumers over the years. It was named for the town where the first Thos. Moser shop was located. Steve also took the time to tell me about the Customer in Residence program, which remained an aspiration for me.

I’ve always enjoyed woodworking, but have not had the time to do it. I should say I have not made the time to do it. Last month I did it. I spent a week in Auburn, making two New Gloucester Rocking Chairs. My son could have the one I purchased, but I really felt my daughters needed a rocking chair that their father had made for them.

I had a wonderful week staying in The Harraseeket Inn, a beautiful old inn in Freeport. I filled each day crafting my rocking chairs and my nights nursing the splinters and calluses I was getting from the work. I loved it. One night Mary and Tom Moser invited me to dine and spend some time at their Maine coast home. The quality of the products created at Thos. Moser is only surpassed by the caliber of the folks who have helped produce furniture for almost four decades now. All of them are genuine, hard-working people with an eye toward excellence.

I’d like to thank my new friends at Thos. Moser for a wonderful week for helping me create something special for my two daughters. While the time away from the office seemed impossible to schedule, I’m glad I made it a priority to explore an old hobby I’d shelved. Stimulating that part of my brain and taking a little down time brought me back to the office with fresh energy. I hope you’ll make your passion a priority too.

Check out more of my experience with Thos. Moser on my flickr photostream.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.