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The Patriarch of Manchester Woodcraft, Ferdinand “Nundy” Bongartz, first fell in love with the area when he was only 16 years old. He spent that summer exploring Vermont’s natural beauty. The two events that made a lasting impression on Nundy were hiking the Long Trail and Canoeing the length of Lake Champlain. After growing up in Bloomfield, New Jersey, the freedom, fresh air, and stunning scenery of Vermont kept him coming back year after year.
After college and serving in the Navy during WWII, he made the decision to move to Vermont full-time. He then built and ran a successful ski lodge, shuttling visitors to and from the train station and local ski areas. But by 1950 he realized where his true passions lay and opened the doors to Manchester Woodcraft’s retail and factory store. Known for his fine craftsmanship he started designing and producing templates – many of which continue to be used and can still be found hanging from the factory ceiling.
Aside from being a craftsman, Nundy was a dedicated husband and father of five. All of his children helped customers and ran machinery at some point in their lives. But two of his daughters, Lauren and Jenny, chose to focus their energy on the business and continue to do so to this very day.
Nundy passed away in 1997 but that didn’t stop Manchester Woodcraft from being a meeting place for family and friends alike. Many of his grandchildren (‘The Cousins’ as they are affectionately referred to) spent their afternoons in the back room watching ski movies, playing with things they grabbed off the shelves, or relaxing after a long day at Bromley.
Some fine-tuning has taken place over the years but the tradition of the small factory store full of wood, sawdust, laughter, and a talented crew of local woodworkers lives on.
Manchester Woodcraft is located in Manchester Vermont, a picturesque New England town nestled in a lush valley between the beautiful Taconic and Green Mountain ranges. Manchester has long been a vacation destination, but is also a popular spot for weekend and day visitors as well. Many people come to town just to visit Manchester Woodcraft. Every day we welcome lifelong customers back, as well as first-timers, who we know will soon become loyal customers too.
When you are in the area, we invite you to visit our store, where you will find an incredible array of wooden gifts, toys, and household items. As you walk in the door you are greeted by the smell of fresh-cut wood and the sound of machines buzzing in the wood shop. Patterns for every item we’ve ever made hang from the ceiling, projects in various stages can be seen in the back, and there’s plenty of sawdust, too. You will be amazed to find in our store almost anything you could imagine made of wood.
We have a wide selection of pieces and parts for the do-it-yourselfer (wheels, axles, furniture plugs, dowels, knobs, pegs, brackets for curtain rods and shelves), lots of items to paint and decorate (picture frames, mirrors, sign plaques, boxes, furniture). Cooks will find cutting boards, wooden utensils, knife blocks, storage solutions, and lots of other handy household items. We make racks for just about everything: ski and pole racks, Shaker peg racks in many sizes, tie racks, jewelry racks, clothes-drying racks, wine racks, towel racks, standing coat racks, mudroom cubbies for hats and mittens, and luggage racks, to name just a few. We are known for our reasonably priced selection of indoor and outdoor furniture, including end tables, nightstands, benches, stools, bookcases and shelves, Adirondack chairs and tables. We are also happy to customize some of our pieces to fit your home. For kids we have lots of wooden toys, puzzles, games, and crafts. Not only do we make great wood products, we also sell an array of hand crafted wood products from other places. There’s something for everyone at our delightful store.
When you come to visit Manchester Woodcraft, be sure to allow plenty of time to take it all in. Customers often remark, “I’ve never seen so many things made out of wood,” or “This place is like a museum.” There really is so much to see, you will want to stay a while. Our friendly staff will be more than happy to answer any questions or provide help, but you will never encounter any high-pressure selling at Manchester Woodcraft. Hope to see you soon!
Come visit us today at 175 Depot Street, Manchester Center, Vermont and see for yourself!