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Maple Landmark Woodcraft

American Made Since 1979
2014 Crafts Finalist

Barbara Rainville

Middlebury, Vermont
For over 35 years, Maple Landmark, located in Middlebury, VT has been making high quality toys, gifts and games. We are America's Toy Company.
Crafts, Toys
Finalist

Tell us about your business.

Mike Rainville, owner and founder, began Maple Landmark at the age of 11, when his mom told him he "needed to find something to do". Both sets of grandparents were carpenters so there was always handsaws and wood around and Mike could experience the pride in making something himself. Mike has grown the business from a one person business to 35 local craftspeople making thousands of products. We are a Vermont company and will always be. Mike's roots go back 7 generations. 4 generations can be found working in the shop almost anytime. Grandma, mom, Mike, and his sons. Yankee Ingenuity and frugality has lead Maple Landmark to stand the test of time. Besides stable business management, Mike works hard to stay on top of emerging technologies to keep the product lines fresh. With 3 CNC routers, 4 laser engravers/cutters and 2 direct to wood printers techniques only thought about 5 years ago are common place today. Mike knows we all have to work smarter not harder.

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

Our 16,000 square foot shop is a retail space, office, and factory all under one roof. In our retail space we offer both first quality items and factory seconds at reduced prices. We conduct full factory tours daily at 10 and 1. Each tour group to taken throughout the shop to see the production and talk with the employees. Our materials are generally sourced within the Northeast. Our lumber is primarily maple and pine and comes from within a few hundred miles. Our finishes and wood parts that we do not make ourselves are sourced from New England businesses. We believe it is vital to the success of Maple Landmark Woodcraft to "shop local." If we want retailers and consumers to by local we need to pay that forward and buy local as well. It benefits all of us. Our employees - most have been with us for at least 5 years - work as a team. Cliche but true, we do all of our own product development and really ask folks to bring their life experiences to the table.

What inspires you?

Mike is inspired by a few things. Cool, innovative ideas that really mean something to someone else - Mike loves to see/hear how his products or company has touched someone's life. Building and creating things on his own is inspiring for him as well. Not many people build things for themselves anymore or have problem solving skills. Whether it be a house - like his grandparents or a toy like he builds. One of the benefits of having his own company is that we (all of the employees) can have a hand in problem solving. Since we are the only company in the world that makes what we make we can't call anyone to help solve our production issues. We have to use our skills and knowledge of our products and production to make it all work.

What makes your business stand out?

There is a lot of competition in the wooden toy market but being family owned, American-made, customer focused allows us to stand out. Where else but Maple Landmark can you find 4 generations working together? Where else can you find a 95 year old woman doing a good days work and working at things that are important? What other businesses can you call and not find a phone tree, speak to the owner and get answers to your questions? And we are real... no front, we are who and what we are and aren't apologetic for it. Our products make us stand out as well. Our NameTrains are 20 years old this year. We are the originator and they are still the perfect gift for children. Because of our size we are also very flexible with production and our products don't have to travel for months and over oceans to get to our customers.

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

Find a passion, something that really moves you and go for it!

What does American Made mean to you?

American - made, Vermont - made means everything to us. It means a job, a living and a vocation. It means keeping alive the ideals that America was founded on. We are a great country with lots of opportunities and a chance for folks that are willing to put the time in to succeed.

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