Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Maple Landmark Woodcraft
Middlebury, VT

What could be greener than products coming from the Green Mountain State?  Nothing!  At least that’s what we think here at Maple Landmark Woodcraft. 

2014 marks our 35th anniversary, Maple Landmark Woodcraft didn’t start life as a full blown company employing 35 craftspeople.  When Mike Rainville, founder and owner, started, it wasn’t to make a million dollars or to fill a niche.  It was because our mother (I’m his sister Barbara) told him “you need to find something to do.” Of course this is what all mothers tell their 11-year-old children.  Our family (both maternal and paternal) were carpenters, farmers, and the epitome of Yankee ingenuity and frugality.   Not going to college but certainly engineers and designers, our grandfathers, in their own right, problem solved, managed time, energy and people, built houses and rebuilt equipment and made a life for themselves and their families.  That sense of accomplishment and creative force has a big influence on Mike so when “you need to find something to do” that something was making items out of wood.

So it began, small household items – bobbin holders, spool holders and Knick-Knack shelves; games – cribbage (which is still in our product line today) and tic-tac-toe; and cars and trucks.  Some of the household items have fallen by the wayside but the cars and trucks and other toys and games stuck.
Mike’s focus was never on making “fad” products.  Traditional products made in traditional ways seemed to be the best fit.  Add in Yankee ingenuity and frugality, and you have built a business being committed to sourcing local materials, hiring local people and being committed to the local environment.

Our products aren’t just designed here at our 16,000 sq ft factory. Our products are MADE here, with pride and that same sense of accomplishment that Mike had 35 years ago - none has ever seen the ocean or come from a plantation. 35 craftspeople and 4 generations – Mike and his wife Jill, their grown sons Andrew and Adam, and myself, our mother Pat and grandmother (mom’s mom) Harriett (who’s 95 years young) all have a loving hand in each product.

Mike Rainville.

We offer factory tours where visitors learn that a local farmer takes our sawdust and uses it for bedding for his animals, that our neighbors use our scrap wood for kindling and that we shred junk mail and magazines to use a packing material in our shipping department (a great way to keep paper out of the waste stream and give it a second life).  Our visitors also learn that all of our raw materials are sourced locally – maple and pine come from within VT through selective harvesting techniques and the cherry we use are actually scraps from a VT furniture company (pieces are too small for them to use but perfect for us).  Our finishes are pretty local as well – coming from Montreal and within Vermont. 

Knowing every ingredient in our stew is critical to being green and all have had the pride, Yankee ingenuity, and frugality built in.