Business: Corbin City Woodworks
Owner: David German, 64, of Corbin City
Location: 115 Route 50, Corbin City
Employees: Owner operated, with son's help
Corbin City Woodworks makes outdoor furniture, picnic tables and Adirondack chairs out of mahogany or cedar. This is our busiest this time of year.
Mahogany makes a fancy picnic table. I spent years hitting the local lumber yards getting their odds and ends. I hooked up with a lumber liquidator and they give me unbelievable deals. That's one of the reasons I'm still in business.
Often I'll get a pile of wood sitting around, and I'll rip it down and plane it. I can take almost any wood and make it look like new. If I wasn't doing that, my prices would have to be at least 25 percent higher, which would put me out of business.
A cedar Adirondack chair runs, depending on size and styles, from $75 to $100. Those prices haven't changed more than $10 in 20 years.
Mahogany Adirondack chairs are $110 to $140. On some, I get fancy with higher backs and a fish face on them. A 4-foot mahogany picnic table is about $350, I guess.
The cedar I usually leave natural. Mahogany I usually do an oil finish.
Around Christmas I do a lot of cedar chests and some nice coffee tables out of hardwood. I have some black walnut and maple, and do contrasting colors.
Some of my picnic tables I'll mix mahogany and cedar as well. One customer in Ocean City bought some mixed-wood pieces, and then had the deck redone with the contrasting woods.
I get a lot of repeat business. Last year a woman came back 18 years after buying four chairs.
If anything unusual needs to be made, I'll do it custom. It usually doesn't take more than a couple of weeks. For example, I've done two sets of mahogany bunk beds and a mahogany bookcase.
My son, Zachary, has started taking an interest in the work, so that's been a real treat, spending time with him and seeing him enjoy the work.
Entry: When I started this, a half a dozen people in Cape May County were doing wood furniture. I don't think any others are left.
The future: I built a couple of small boats the past year and would like to make some serious boats at some point, but right now it's just a hobby.
Business editor Kevin Post