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New owner: 'The Joinery will stay in Woodstock'

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - The new owner of The Joinery, Jon Blumenauer, stands with staff members Taryn Johnson and Cassandra Jackson, to welcome guests to a recent reception at the Woodstock business.As a private reception got underway at The Joinery in Woodstock on January 22, its new proprietor, Jon Blumenauer, told THE BEE how his ownership came about – and his future plans for the company.

“It is just one of those things that was serendipitous,” remarked Blumenauer, who is the son of Oregon’s U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer.

“I had no intention of buying a company; I was not looking to do that. But I knew about The Joinery. I had met the founder and previous owner, Marc Gaudin, and I knew about the quality of workmanship at the company. I knew enough about how the company was run that I thought this was something I wanted to be involved with.

“Then, I learned that [Gaudin] was looking to sell the company,” he continued. “And, he was looking to sell it to somebody who was in alignment with the values that he has. He was looking for someone who would carry the company forward in the way that he would want it to be done.

“It came to me; it kind of fell in my lap,” Blumenauer added. “It was one of those things where it occurred to me that ‘this is a great opportunity’.”

Although he was born and raised in Portland, Jon studied and traveled abroad for several years before returning to the area, he said.

“I have a lot of international operations and general management experience. I don’t have specific furniture manufacturing experience, but I do have experience in the manufacturing world, and I do understand the dynamics and the issues that come into play.”

Since Jon has been working most recently as a strategic consultant dealing with sustainability and environmental issues, he commented, “There is a very deep ‘sustainability’ component to all that The Joinery does. I thought the scope of what the organization does, and does as a manufacturing organization, fits well with my background and my interests.”

The best thing about being with the company since its change of hands, Blumenauer said, has been getting to know and working with the staff. “Our values are aligned. There are folks who have worked here for more than fifteen years. They’re really committed to the company, to what we do, and how we do it.

“And, most importantly, they’re committed to the product,” he observed. “Together, we will continue to design and build fantastic products that are going to last for generations. They take great pride in that.”

Our interview paused for a moment as Blumenauer looked out the window to collect his thoughts. His fingertips lightly stroked the surface of a table in the showroom. “You can't really convey this in writing, but when you see the finished product, and you touch it, it’s really exciting.”

Jon’s father, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, smiled as he drifted into the showroom. “I’ve purchased substantial pieces of furniture, and got to know the craftspeople and select the wood. It’s something that is not just a piece of furniture, but investment, something with lasting value.”

Beyond the quality of the products, the Congressman added, “And, yes, I do feel little bit of pride in that it’s my son. The notion that, after having been away to college, graduate school and working overseas, that he’ll be back working here – it makes me smile.”

Finally, The Joinery’s new owner wanted to make one thing crystal clear to THE BEE: The business is staying at its current location. “We’re not moving. We’ve been a fixture of the Woodstock neighborhood for fifteen years, and we plan to be here long into the future,” Jon Blumenauer said.