2017 Astra Marketplace

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The wood products industry has a long history in Vermont. From the early mills built by settlers to furniture factories of the 1900's to Maple Landmark Woodcraft, who combines history and local resources to continue the tradition by crafting fine wooden toys, games and gifts.

In the 70's, Mike Rainville found woodworking to be an interesting hobby. Working with scraps from his grandfather's carpentry projects, in his parents' basement, in Lincoln, Vermont, Mike created simple household items. Before long, Mike was being asked to make things to sell and by 1979, his first wholesale relationship started. Being only 15 years old at the time, getting lumber or delivering orders meant not just borrowing a truck but burrowing a driver the truck as well.

After graduating Clarkson in 1984, Mike went to work constructing a shop of ample size for his now full-time business, known as Maple Landmark Woodcraft. The choice "Maple Landmark Woodcraft" paid homage to his grandfather and grandmother's long time maple sugaring operation and dairy farm named, Maple Landmark Homestead.

In 1987, the acquisition of Troll's Toy Workshop, of Barnet, VT, brought many products based on the alphabet. Out of this growing niche, evolved the natural NameTrains and by1994, NameTrains were introduced in todays bright colors.

The growth from these new products had Mike's building bursting at the seams by late 1994. A new building was built, in 1996, in Middlebury, VT. The building provided factory and office space as well as a retail area. Visitors could shop or "see it being made" through windows looking onto the factory floor.

The addition of new technology – laser engraving, pad printing and ink jet allowed for new products and created the need for more space. An addition was completed in 1999 making the building 15,000 square feet.

In 2001, Montgomery Schoolhouse, another Vermont wooden toy maker, joined the Maple Landmark family. Operations were consolidated in Middlebury, and many of the Montgomery Schoolhouse products are still being made today.

In the last decade, consumer trends have pushed Maple Landmark's business upward. Toy safety, especially finish safety, is on the mind of consumers. Maple Landmark's newest brand "Schoolhouse Naturals" answers that concern because those toys have no finish. The "made is America" trend is growing stronger as consumers connect the country's economic health to their shopping habits. Mike Rainville has been answering this demand since he was 11 years old!

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