MiVT (Made in Vermont): Tablelegs.com
By Scott Fleishman | Posted: Mon 6:16 PM, Jan 20, 2020 | Updated: Mon 8:07 PM, Jan 20, 2020
Through his website, Tablelegs.com, his Made in Vermont products are being used by hobbyists and commercial clients looking for a little bit of beauty with their balance. As Scott Fleishman reports, legs have been the backbone of his company for three decades.
A newel post from an 1810 cape house in Danville has been the central focus for a longtime Vermont business. "It's the iconic, classic, country farmhouse architecture and design," said Matthew Burak, a woodworker the house belonged to and who has been building furniture for decades. "I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't have a stash of wood and I wasn't designing and I wasn't building something."
He created Matthew Burak furniture about 30 years ago. But what's really been the major attraction for Burak -- his legs that are based on the design of that newel post. "Over the years, we've sold millions of dollars of that particular profile," he said.
Matthew Burak Furniture and Tablelegs.com are made out of this 50-thousand square foot space in St. Johnsbury. "It's fun to be in this old, historic building in a multi-generational family business," Burak said.
His daughter, Kate Davis, now runs the day-to-day operations. "It makes me really proud to see the items that we're producing and the product that we're producing," Davis said.
The table legs come in many sizes and about 300 different styles, thanks to their unique wood turning machines and attention to detail.
"There's an immense amount of hand work that goes into this stuff and if it wasn't for the amazing people that carry all this knowledge around in their head, show up everyday and put their work in and work hard and care about what we put out, it wouldn't exist at all," Burak said.
Tablelegs.com reached it's peak in 2008, but then the housing crisis occurred and it had a major impact here. A company that once had more than 40 employees was reduced to about 20 employees. But through perseverance, they still had a leg to stand on.
"By being flexible, changing the business model so that we could succeed," Davis said.
"If you look at the styling, the proportion and the transitions in our parts, what built our company is that," Burak said.
A lifetime of design work resulting in a family business that is stable as a table.
This article appeared on WCAX and has been published here with permission.