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When Standard Appliance moved out and The Joinery moved in, a new Woodstock tradition began

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - The Joinerys owner, Jon Blumenauer, was accompanied by family at the anniversary celebration. From left: Jons wife Aline - with 8-month-old Ila; Jon in the middle in front of his 4 ?-year-old son Quinn; and Jons mother, Pam Shelly. Between four and seven o'clock on July 22, four hundred people flooded into The Joinery at S.E. 48th and Woodstock Boulevard to celebrate the thirty-fifth anniversary of this local manufacturer and seller of handmade fine furniture.

In 1982 the Joinery was founded in Southeast Portland by Marc Gaudin in a humble 200-square foot workshop. In 1992 the company moved to a 5,000 square foot space off S.E. Division Street. In 1997 all thirteen employees moved to Woodstock – into the store space vacated by Standard TV & Appliance when it moved to 82nd Avenue of Roses.

Today the Joinery encompasses 20,000 square feet; and half of that is workshop. In 2015 a new showroom – a flagship retail store – was opened downtown at S.W. 9th and Yamhill, but the sales floor remains open to the public at the Woodstock location as well.

The flood of well-wishers on July 22 included previous and prospective customers, previous and current employees, neighbors, and Joinery families. Attendees toured the massive workshop and showroom, and enjoyed food, beer, wine, and strawberry lemonade.

Half way through the afternoon, Jon Blumenauer, The Joinery's owner since 2013, stood on the stairs and addressed the gathering. "We have a deep commitment to professional business practices, to environmental performance, and to our employees," he said. "We hire people who care – employees who show up every day with passion."

Joinery employees indeed seem enthusiastic about working for a company that takes good care of them, offers a healthful work environment (filtering out wood dust), and engenders worker satisfaction in crafting uniquely fine furniture.

Blumenauer's father, Representative Earl Blumenauer, was present at the celebration. "We've [my wife and I] been Joinery fans for decades. We both had Joinery furniture when we met, so we thought we'd be compatible," he quipped.

Earl continued, "I admired what Marc [Gaudin, the former owner] did, and am thrilled that Jon could follow in that tradition. This is a 35 year tradition that's been building. I've been a fan of Woodstock forever. I was first elected to the legislature in Southeast Portland."

In 2010 the Joinery became a certified B (Benefit) Corp. Certification as a B Corporation is a distinction conferred by the nonprofit "B Lab" in Pennsylvania. A "B Corp" is rated on socially and environmentally beneficial performance standards.

A briquette machine was installed at The Joinery in 2011 that compacts all of the workshop sawdust into briquettes, preventing 1,200 pounds per week of sawdust from being sent to a landfill. The briquettes are then donated to the community. In 2012, solar panels were installed above the workshop, and in 2013 the company won an even higher B Corp award.

Owner Blumenauer reports that over a three-year period, 2014-2016, the building's electricity usage decreased by 20%, and its water consumption was reduced by 40%. This was done through investment in new equipment – and "behavior changes".

Customer satisfaction matches the business' positive environmental record, and the Woodstock neighborhood may well consider itself proud and fortunate to have a business rated in 2016 by the Portland Business Journal to be one of the Oregon's most admired companies.

Contract Publishing

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