The Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers is a collection of talented people and businesses, but it’s not just the furniture makers themselves who make the guild what it is. Our supporting members also play an important role in helping our furniture makers do what they do.
One such member is A. Johnson Co., a Bristol-based lumber store. After all, you can’t have quality woodworking without quality wood. “[A. Johnson Co.] is where many of us buy lumber,” said member Timothy Clark of the well-known local lumberyard. “I have been buying lumber from the A. Johnson Company since 1986. It is one of very few places that have some of the same friendly faces after 30 years.”
Even though Tim has been a loyal customer for 30 years, he’s still a relative newcomer to this historic lumber company. This year they are celebrating their 110th birthday, with roots dating back to 1906! Way back then, in upstate New York, Andrew Johnson and his three sons purchased wooded land to supply their new mill. When Andrew and one of the two sons died a few years later, the two remaining sons, Fred and Frank moved the business to Vermont, where it has remained ever since.
The company moved around Vermont several times until they finally settled in their present location of Bristol. They also weathered many changes over their 110 years, including Frank’s departure, the Great Depression, and innumerable changes to the economic, political, and business landscapes. It has now been handed down to a new generation, growing from a one-man show to an advanced, mechanized operation powered by a staff with diversified skills.
A. Johnson Co. doesn’t just provide quality goods and services. Responsibility has long been a hallmark of their mission, employing professional foresters since 1944. Today, all of their timber is Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified. Guild member Charles Ogg says, “I buy wood for many of my projects from A .Johnson. They harvest throughout Vermont and Upstate New York, pretty much local.” They ensure sustainable practices, employ local workers, and keep their dollars in-state when possible.
Charles Ogg piece crafted with A. Johnson Co. wood
When Guild members talk about A. Johnson Co., two things stand out. First is that they get what they are looking for at a great quality and price. “As a seasoned lumber inspector myself, the grade of the material is right on,” said member Steve Robinson.
Second is the service. In fact, every member has complimented A. Johnson Co. on the quality of their employees. David Boynton said, “A. Johnson was the first place in Vermont I ever bought hardwood for furniture, back in 1978! The place hasn’t changed much in almost 40 years; nice people who really know their business. Every woodworker I know in the state has bought lumber there at one time or another and have had similar, warm experiences.”
David’s sentiments were echoed by Chris Ericson who said, “I had a great experience with them this fall.” Chris lives pretty far from the A. Johnson Co., but he was looking for something special. When he got there he had assistance from beginning to end, and had great things to say about everyone who helped him out. In fact, some of the members know many A. Johnson Co. employees by name. “Totally worth the long drive,” Chris said, “I’ll be making it again.”
On the hunt for the perfect slab at A. Johnson Co.
The mill is presently fed with about eight million board feet of timber annually. Wood is sold in the region for every purpose, including firewood, biomass fuels, and even consulting services to landowners. And of course, wood for Vermont-made furniture.
Check out A Johnson Co’s webpage and contact them for any and all of your lumber needs.
The A. Johnson Co., LLC
995 South 116 RD
Bristol, VT 05443
Main office: (802) 453-4884