By Seth Fera-Schanes
Look beyond Wall Street and Midtown’s financial firms, Madison Avenue ad agencies and Silicon Alley in the FlatIron District. Instead look around at the thousands of individuals and smaller companies who make our bread, artisanal pickles, jewelry, hats and any other number of items we give as gifts or use in our daily lives.
There are all manner of interesting professions and niche industries in the city and I was fortunate to be able to speak with Jerry Middleton owner and operator of Wood Essentials, a company that specializes in making wood medicine cabinets.
Jerry, a longtime resident of Manhattan’s Upper East Side has had a woodworking shop in South Williamsburg for the past 25 years. He has actually been located on many floors of the same building over the years and has seen the neighborhood grow and change around him. The building he is in is the former home to the McLoughlin Brothers Printing Plant.
A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Jerry started a career in architecture in the city. Beginning in the early 1990’s he became an independent woodworker and still does other types of wood work and he will “do anything his tools will do” (including furniture and custom work for artists such as pedestals.)
Around 2000, Jerry made a medicine cabinet for a client on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The client loved the work and after looking at the market place, he saw an opportunity and Wood Essentials was born.
All of Jerry’s pieces are handmade in his shop in Brooklyn. He uses quality woods (clients can choose from Oak, Cherry, Mahogany or Maple) and each piece is made with the experience from over 25 years of a woodworking professional.
Jerry and his company are part of the larger fabric that makes New York such a great place to live. People from all over the world come here to live, start companies and bring quality products to the marketplace.Follow Jerry and all his woodworking skills on Facebook.