Success Story: Connecticut
From an early age, Brian Cooper of Pawcatuck, Connecticut, was drawn to woodworking. In high school, he took the maximum number of trade classes possible, and during that time he built a Grandfather’s Clock. “Woodworking is in my DNA,” Brian says. Unbeknownst to him, he became the same type of craftsman his grandfather was, a family member he never had the opportunity to meet.
Brian started professionally as a boat builder and cabinet maker, and years later found out that his grandfather was also a boat builder and cabinet maker. He eventually inherited all of his grandfather’s tools, which had his name stamped into them. It is serendipitous that Brian is in the profession he is in. While working in the boating industry, the construction of wooden boats started to become obsolete. Brian wanted to continue to pursue his craft of working with wood and checked out a 18th century home. He dismantled it, preserving the 300-year-old wood, and started on the next phase of his career of restoring early New England homes and buildings to museum quality — making his own nails and windows.
Then a trend started where builders did not possess the preservation mentality and historic buildings were getting burned or bulldozed and not preserved. His business then turned to dismantling the entire building and storing it in trailers so it could be reconstructed in another location. Then a recession hit, and It was a painful time for Brian and The Cooper Group. He had to lay off 40 employees. (more…)