A Farmville business is being featured on a national morning television show on Wednesday, the chamber of commerce announced.
“Good Morning America” correspondent Kaylee Hartung is spotlighting the North Carolina Furniture School as part of a series on small businesses and the challenges they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had to pivot during the pandemic,” said Stuart Kent, the founder and director of the NC Furniture School. “In 2019 our classes were full. We were at capacity as late as March 2020 when everything shut down.”
Without the classes, the Furniture School had to find a way to stay afloat. It became a custom woodworking shop to get through the pandemic, according to the news release from the Farmville Chamber of Commerce.
“With tremendous support from the town, we got through it,” Kent said. “It was a communitywide effort.”
Kent was aided by Farmville residents and an area developer that brought work to the school-turned-custom-woodshop.
Greg Cannon, the owner of the Farmville Hardware Store, located across the street from the Furniture School on Wilson Street, provided a forklift when needed and made it easy to get supplies. Volunteers helped in the shop, and the chamber provided group advertising opportunities for many local businesses along with the Furniture School.
“It was exactly what a small town can and should be,” Kent said. “I’m not sure we would have gotten through the pandemic without the community.”
Kent received a master’s in fine arts in wood design from East Carolina University’s School of Art and Design in 2008. He taught in Costa Rica and worked on researched sustainable tropical hardwoods in 2013 through a project underwritten by a Fulbright Core Grant.
The NC Furniture School was one of many businesses and Farmville one of several communities throughout the United States that were highlighted in the GMA series. The segment featured Hartung making a wooden bowl, following Kent’s instructions. She kept the piece, which was inscribed on the bottom.
The school has reopened in a limited capacity and is focused on teaching the art of woodworking.
The segment will be on “GMA’s” website, www.goodmorningamerica.com, after it airs.