Union Wood Co. only opened its doors six months ago and already the little wood shop on Railway Street is going strong with custom orders of locally produced furniture from salvaged wood. Many of his clientelle include young couples looking to furnish their first home with unique pieces that have the added bonus of being eco-friendly.
Owner Craig Pearce bided his time until the perfect space became available in his neighbourhood to open Union Wood Co.; a business that combines a viable wood shop with four full time employees and a store front to sell both hand-crafted furniture and collected vintage and repurposed items. All the wood used to create the store’s one of a kind pieces comes from locally sourced lumber which would otherwise be lost in the demolition of Vancouver’s older buildings.
Craig knows the value of rescuing this wood not only for its quality, but for the history that each piece brings with it. Everything has a story. Wood rescued from the R.C.M.P. Stables from 110 East Cordova waits in the wood shop. Metal parts are also upcycled when found which include repurposed old sprinkler pipes to metal tables bases and antique hardware. Craig collected, salvaged and ‘treasure’ hunted for years to bring true vintage, non-reproduction objects to the store. The only items the store sells that are not antique are the light bulbs, but the cages to go around them are all originals. Hand-sewn aprons from old army tents and pillows created from old sails are also found at Union Wood Co. and all of this creating/treasure hunting can be followed via Union Wood Co.’s blog. By the way, did I mention that he is also a full-time fireman?
What struck me the most while visiting Union Wood Co. is that this enterprise stems from Craig’s passion for history ( or obsession as he states it ) and his desire to breath life back into discarded items. The store itself is fully furnished by the past with old barn boards fitted on the back wall, a large marine spotlight hangs over the service area, old racks, rebuilt tables display the collected treasures and all are for sale ( except the barn boards). Craig calls himself a bit of a hoarder and can’t seem to throw away any wood scraps which is great for the store as he created beautiful solid butcher blocks, door stoppers, other items as the wood inspires him. Waste is kept to a minimum. Currently in the shop is a rescued block of wood from an old airplane hangar with bolted metal screws that is just waiting to be made into a coffee or side table perhaps? I asked Craig how he knows what each scrap of wood will become and he can see almost immediately how the wood will evolve.
What interests us the most at this time is the new addition of a wedding registry. To the couples who have everything Union Wood Co. offers a non-traditional registry that will enable guests to contribute to a custom designed piece or a credit towards an item found in the store, but beware, all items are one of a kind and stock rotates rather quickly. If a custom designed piece is what you are interested in Craig and his team will set up a consultation, set up an account for guests to contribute to in amounts that you are agreeable with and you will be that much closer to your goal of owning a stunning hand-crafted, locally sourced, one of a kind furniture piece.
Thanks to Craig and Otis for my tour and for chatting with me. Union Wood Co. is a very cool shop and I love that being green is just a part of who they are.
Article by Shona Dion, photos by sweet earth photographics