Earlier this week, Vermont experienced historic flooding and the Bridgewater Mill that houses our workshops was profoundly affected.
First, I want to say THANK YOU to all the community members, friends, family, and customers who have shared their concern and support. It has been inspirational for us and has given us the much-needed energy to keep moving forward.
Miranda and I have a lifelong commitment to making beautiful things by hand for others to use, and to teaching others to do the same. We have tried to keep our business going against all odds, struggling against economics and elements, because we believe deeply that in this age of mechanization, speed, and de-personalization, slowing down and expressing ourselves with our hands is vitally important. And, we have tried to provide a place for others to make a living doing so.
Miranda and I are now facing our third serious injury to our business (Tropical Storm Irene, Covid, and now this flood). We are getting older, and it is getting harder. But we have younger people, including our son and daughter-in-law and many others, who are very eager to carry this mission forward and keep this important work going.
This devastating flood affected us less than Tropical Storm Irene, thanks in part to the flood mitigation that we have made since. Nonetheless, there is extensive damage to our building, our kilns, and our furniture-making equipment. We expect insurance to cover the building fundamentals, but we believe we will need an additional $125,000 to recover. This includes $80,000 to repair machinery, $10-$15,000 to acquire a new sump pump to protect against future flooding, and $20-$25,000 in cleanup costs.
We need to get back into production as quickly as possible. We had one of our best years ever last year, but the nature of handwork means operating at a razor-thin margin. For the last ten years, any profit has gone to paying down the debt that we incurred after Tropical Storm Irene.
We are asking for your help, in any amount, to keep this business going, and keep alive the mission and skills that Miranda and I have been promoting for 50 years. Even the smallest donation is a vote of confidence in us. And the messages that you send, without any donation, are hugely helpful. We stand with an amazing community and all the other small businesses that are struggling at this time to recover.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support. We and our amazing team have the will to survive this. As Sir Ernest Shackleton famously put it, “Optimism is true moral courage”.
With your help, we have it.
Charlie and Miranda