30 Years in one Family, A CedarWorks Milestone

Life at CedarWorks  |  5 years ago

30 Years in one Family, A CedarWorks Milestone

2018 marks 30 years since the Brown family bought a small swing set company called CedarWorks. A lot of what we look like and how we do things has changed in 30 years, but the heart of the company, things like customer service, attention to detail and quality, and a sense of family, have been here since the beginning.

In 1988, Duncan and Susan Brown arrived at CedarWorks in Rockport, Maine. At that time, CedarWorks’ “headquarters” was located in a small house on Route 1. The small building was rather poorly built, and it relied on a wood stove to provide heat.

The company’s computer “system” consisted of one Apple Fat Mac with a memory of 0.5 MB (your basic iMac in 2018 has 8 Gigabytes). It sat in a corner and was only used at the end of the day to record orders that had been taken over the phone.

The original manufacturing plant was a 7500 square foot building in nearby Rockland. Our manufacturing equipment consisted of three hand drill presses, two saws, and two routers. All components were made in-house. Cardboard boxes were stuffed with parts, hand strapped, placed on a pallet and eventually put into a truck which picked up 1-2 times per week. The plant only had three employees, so many weeks were a marathon to get all the parts manufactured and packed in time, but somehow this small team always made the Friday deadline.

The office had two employees most of the year, but only one in the winter, our quiet season. Stacking wood for the stove and keeping it going was that person’s primary duty. Every winter, a couple of pipes would freeze, but extra water was kept near the stove for those occasions. The office person would also take orders and provide customer service over the phone. This was before the days of Google searches or Facebook advertising so our inquiries came from print ads in the backs of magazines or even the Wall Street Journal. As the season progressed both employees, as well as Susan and Duncan, would assist customers and take orders, all by hand in a notebook, before entering them in the Fat Mac at the end of the day. The handwritten notebook, not the computer, was the bible for all discussions and disputes.

CedarWorks looks a lot different today. Our product line has developed and expanded to include both indoor and outdoor playsets and furniture as well as playsets designed for commercial use. Our manufacturing and shipping facility has also expanded accordingly to about 60,000 square feet in the Industrial Park. Our office, too, has been enlarged with an entirely new structure, still on Route 1, but this time with heat. And, of course, just about everything depends on computers. But CedarWorks is still a small family company located on the coast of Maine serving families all over the globe

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