By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Business name: Blackington Furniture
Address: 10 Grafton Common, Grafton
Owner: Rand R. Bardsley
How long has Blackington Furniture been in business?
“Blackington has been in existence about 13 years,” said Rand Bardsley, a former high-tech executive turned custom furniture maker. “We handcraft each piece in Worcester, using local materials and employees. Three years ago, we opened this store, on the Common.” Ann Pendleton, who has a background in furniture retailing, manages the store.
“People can come in and see the different concepts, textures and colors, then discuss a piece they have in mind with Ann or me. We enjoy working one-on-one with customers,” Bardsley said.
How do you select the non-furniture products for the store? [Blackington Furniture is a Simon Pearce Signature store offering all their products.]
“All of their glassware and pottery pieces are handmade in Vermont,” Pendleton said. “But we carry items at prices across the board, gifts from $1 up to $300 or $400. We feature different things that look nice with our furniture, things that other stores don's carry, for example, floating feathers [real feathers encased in glass globes of various shapes and sizes.] It's something that's not expensive but is very different.”
And for the furniture shoppers?
“We want to be a resource. When people want that custom bar or a different piece of furniture or something they'se seen in a magazine, we want them to remember we'se here,” said Bardsley, who makes a lot of Blackington's furniture from repurposed antique wood and can offer metal accents such as copper tray insets or steel trim.
Is custom furniture expensive?
“People are often nervous when you mention the word “custom,””” Bardsley said with a laugh. “Our furniture is unique, but we have taken a whole level of distribution cost out. You'se buying from the manufacturer. Once you decide you'se going to buy a quality piece of furniture, this is the most cost-effective way to do it. And it's going to be solid wood, handmade to your specifications.
“Our prices are very competitive. I's happy to discuss pricing and what makes up the cost of each option. I can explain the cost of select hardwoods versus local pine. You can have a beautiful hardwood top and perhaps an antique painted base.”
“Don's get too hung up on the pricing,” Pendleton added. “A beautiful table, exactly the size you want, the color you want, everything about it exactly what you want, isn's going to cost a whole lot more than if you go into a store and get one that's not exactly what you want.”
And you do more than furniture?
“Anything made from wood, from the tiniest table to a whole kitchen. We have great entertainment units that the television pops up out of, special coffee tables, built-in bookcases, fireplaces and mantles,” Pendleton said.
The Blackington Furniture store is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment.