What started as a way to raise funds for a family's adoption has become a go-to custom furniture company that outfits family homes and local restaurants. Its latest project: the North Market.
For Josh Scheutzow, constructing a table is more than a job. The owner of Sunbury-based A Carpenter’s Son Design Co. recognizes the central role this piece of furniture plays in the lives of his clients—the setting for meals, heartfelt conversations and turning points. “It’s humbling that we are able to be such an intimate part of people’s lives,” Scheutzow says about his products, particularly the many artisan tables that his company makes, and their final resting places in homes and businesses across 38 U.S. states.
Scheutzow is a fourth-generation carpenter. The seeds of entrepreneurship and craftsmanship run deep in the Cleveland native’s veins. Just like his father before him, both of his grandfathers and a great-grandfather were woodworkers.
In a newly constructed, 2,500-square-foot shop on a picturesque parcel of land just east of Alum Creek’s northern tip, Scheutzow and a team of four full-time craftsmen make made-to-order dining tables, desks, bars, coffee tables, benches and a smattering of other custom products for a slew of residential and commercial clients.Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to our weekly newsletters.
The shop is steps from the masterfully renovated 1830s farmhouse that Scheutzow and his father brought back to life last year. The younger Scheutzow lives on the property with his wife and high school sweetheart, Laura, and their four sons, ages 2, 3, 7 and 9. A Saint Bernard pup and some chickens also call the place home.
On the day that I visit in May, the team is hard at work on more than a dozen slabs of hardwood, most sourced from within 200 miles, laid flat in the woodshop. In a nearby finishing room, orders are queued, ready to head to homes and businesses where Scheutzow hopes they will reside for years to come. “We want to build exceptional products that’ll last a lifetime,” he says.
“People have cared about my family in so many unique ways, which is important to the story of our business,” Scheutzow reflects as we sit on the farmhouse porch. “We try to put the same care that we’ve been shown as a family into the work that we do for others,” he says.
The care Scheutzow alludes to includes support the family received when their eldest son fell sick as a baby and nearly died. Thankfully, he recovered, and as life marched on, the Scheutzows hoped to grow their brood into the large family they had always dreamt of having.
However, when faced with fertility struggles in 2015, the couple decided to pursue domestic adoption but encountered a more than $30,000 fee that the young family couldn’t easily afford. Scheutzow, who was working in construction at the time, went to work in his off hours, spending nights and weekends using his natural talent and training to turn raw wood into artfully crafted cutting boards, which he and Laura sold on Etsy and around town to raise funds for the adoption. Family, friends and the community showed up for the family once again, and the Scheutzows were able to quickly fundraise the needed money to adopt their third child.
As orders kept pouring in, Scheutzow kept crafting, and in 2016 he left his full-time job and a 10-year career in construction to dedicate himself to growing A Carpenter’s Son.
Scheutzow has never lost sight of those early days and the company’s original mission. “We have a heart for adoption,” he tells me. “It’s where the business came from.” Today, he donates a portion of his proceeds to Choice Network, the agency in Worthington that helped he and Laura adopt, to support several families each year as they pursue their own adoptions.
An impressive list of local restaurants and businesses feature products from A Carpenter’s Son in their spaces, including Fox in the Snow Café, Little Eater, Rockmill Tavern and Native Cold Pressed.
Though it mostly offers what Scheutzow calls “community-centered designs” for commercial clients, the company is willing to craft whatever a client may dream up. For example, at COHatch, the lifestyle coworking social enterprise for which A Carpenter’s Son serves as custom furniture manufacturer, they have provided bar tops, ping pong tables, coffee tables, conference tables, desks and even a solid walnut staircase to meet the group’s needs.
Scheutzow says that one of his earliest supporters was Joe DeLoss, owner of Hot Chicken Takeover, Columbus’ Nashville-style hot chicken spot. The two met as undergraduate students at Capital University.
“From the first day I met him, I have admired his authenticity and kindness. He’s someone you aspire to be more like,” DeLoss says.
Hot Chicken Takeover calls itself a fair-chance employer and provides opportunities to those facing barriers to employment. DeLoss notes that A Carpenter’s Son’s origin story is very similar to his own company’s, as they were both “built in service to something much bigger.”
“Whenever possible, we want to grow alongside partners with the same values,” DeLoss says, calling Scheutzow’s business a “dream partner.” The long communal tables at all three Hot Chicken Takeover locations in Columbus and in the restaurant’s newest eatery in Cleveland were crafted by Scheutzow’s team.
As we wrap up our conversation, Scheutzow awaits news from the North Market about a pending deal to outfit the second floor of the Columbus institution with new tables. Later that day, Scheutzow receives word that he got the project, which means 10 weeks of cranking out nearly 30 community tables and 300 feet of raised bar seating for the market.
The excitement is palpable for Scheutzow with his largest and most high-profile job to date ahead of him.
“It’ll probably be the craziest season,” he says.