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Farewell Woodcraft Chattanooga

by Tennwood
posted 07-27-2012 07:01 PM

39 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2968 days

#1 posted 07-27-2012 07:46 PM

Yes, sadly another example of “It Worked”, “the private sector is doing fine”.
Must be because “they didn’t build that.”

I personally can feel their pain. I lost my job of 30 years thanks to the idiot policies of “The Won”.

View Handtooler's profile


1553 posts in 2129 days

#2 posted 07-27-2012 08:01 PM

Amen to both prior comments. I’ve purchased many items there and all were supported with great advise and suggestions from really great woodworkers. Living in Soddy daisy and not driving I’m rarely able to shop at will, but those guys always were ready to hold an item for me till I could get over across town. So sorry for their closing. My wife also regets their demise as she also shopped for her own tools. Russell Pitner

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View helluvawreck's profile


31056 posts in 2863 days

#3 posted 07-27-2012 08:22 PM

This bothers me. I’ve talked to my brother about us investing in a Woodcraft store in our area. We’re already in the molding business and even though they would be separate businesses we have always thought that they could enhance each other. It’s hard to make any plans when you’re in a situation like this economy where you don’t really know what the government is going to do next or what your expenses will be. We’re not even buying new machinery anymore. We used to replace our equipment whenever the maintenance cost got to be a little above the monthly cost of new machinery. This is how we used to keep our equipment modern and up to date, but not any more. This country is really going downhill.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View helluvawreck's profile


31056 posts in 2863 days

#4 posted 07-27-2012 09:54 PM

I have always loved Woodcraft ever since I can remember. I’ve been a Woodcraft customer for 40 years. Shortly after my wife and I were married in 1971 I bought my first set of hand tools from Woodcraft for $1000. I must have spent 40 hours thinking about which tools I would buy so I didn’t take the purchase lightly. Back then $1000 was a lot of money and could buy a whole lot more than it can today. You could buy a Ford Granada for $5000, for example. We ended up buying a new Kharman Ghia for $2700. We drove that Kharman Ghia for 5 years and we sold it for $2500 so it turned out to be a good investment. I wish that I still had that car. I already had some tools that I had scraped up during High School so I was adding to what I already had. It was my first big woodworking investment. Every catalog I got I would look at it for hours. In fact, every other woodworking catalog that I got I would look at for hours.

In Atlanta, Woodcraft’s biggest competitor is Highland Hardware. I think I’ve been doing business with them for at least 30 years – maybe close to 40 – I can’t remember when they started. They are both a retail outfit and an internet and catalog business. I tried to get down to both stores at least once every three months but that really proved to be difficult even though they are both only 35 or 45 miles from my home. Invariably, that is going to add up to a 3 to 6 hour trip since you are going to want to browse in the stores and then you have to encounter rush hour traffic which is never pleasant. If you go on the weekend then traffic is not so bad but then I’m cutting into my woodworking time which is usually the weekend.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3558 days

#5 posted 07-27-2012 11:05 PM

It’s a tough business. Many (most??) customers come and look then go home an order it off the web.

-- Joe

View Handtooler's profile


1553 posts in 2129 days

#6 posted 07-28-2012 12:20 AM

Joe were you the franchise owner? Your staff of Chris, Randy Colby et. al are OUTSTANDING people.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2832 days

#7 posted 07-28-2012 12:37 AM

I hope the one local to me stays open, there is nothing closer except Lowes and HD and I’ve stopped shopping there except for 2×4s and cheap ply. Only place I buy tools is craigslist or woodcraft and always woodcraft if I can afford new because they’re always helpful in making recommendations.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3558 days

#8 posted 07-28-2012 02:04 AM


No, I have no connection with that Woodcraft, or any other. (I’ve been retired for 4+ years.)

I was just making a general statement about that and similar brick and mortar retail businesses. That is the reason you hardly ever see things like computers, cameras, etc. in small stores.

The nearest Woodcraft store from where I live is over a hundred miles, and the nearest Rockler is further so my only option is web based buying. Like Rev. Russ, I only buy generic hardware and dimensional lumber from the big box stores.

-- Joe

View MisterBill's profile


411 posts in 2248 days

#9 posted 07-28-2012 02:50 PM

The Woodcraft in Fort Lauderdale closed over a year ago due to the same reason and it is a 3 hour drive to the closest. I feel your loss and pain!

View Bertha's profile


13525 posts in 2690 days

#10 posted 07-28-2012 02:56 PM

My Knoxville Woodcraft was awesome. Sorry to hear this.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View CyberDyneSystems's profile


261 posts in 2185 days

#11 posted 07-29-2012 12:14 AM

The one in my neck of the woods closed last December…

We no longer have a single place in Rhode Island to buy tools other than the big box stores.
The last independent store is actually trying to hold on, but they have about 30% of the normal inventory, so you can’t actually buy anything there, and thus can;t support them.

-- Without the wood, it's just working

View Zinderin's profile


94 posts in 2129 days

#12 posted 07-29-2012 02:08 AM

Why do you guys care? Both Woodcraft and Rockler sell on Amazon, and you get free shipping. Other than getting your eyeballs on the wood you’re buying, why would you go into the store anyway?

I am not being a smart* ... my local Woodcraft store is over 10 miles away from me … with gas prices what they are, and me driving an F150 … that’s $5 surcharge JUST to go look in the store. And my local Rockler is 15 miles the other direction.

Back to the wood … the only thing I’d miss is the exotic turning stock. Otherwise I shop at my local Ganahl Lumber and two other hardwood suppliers ... they have a better selection of hardwoods and better prices than Rockler or Woodcraft ever thought of.

View KenBry's profile


484 posts in 2444 days

#13 posted 07-29-2012 02:07 PM

Here in phoenix the woodcraft wants to add a second sore on the oppisite side of town. They are doing pretty good.

-- Ken, USAF MSgt, Ret.

View waho6o9's profile


8189 posts in 2573 days

#14 posted 07-29-2012 03:44 PM

“Why do you guys care? Both Woodcraft and Rockler sell on Amazon, and you get free shipping. Other than getting your eyeballs on the wood you’re buying, why would you go into the store anyway?”

Zinderin remarked.

That’s just wrong dude.

View syenefarmer's profile


488 posts in 3077 days

#15 posted 07-29-2012 03:48 PM

I care that my local Woodcraft stays afloat because;

1. They pay taxes that help keep my taxes down.
2. They employ local people who also pay taxes that help keep my taxes down.
3. Their employees spend their wages locally which helps other local businesses stay open.
4. Those other local businesses also pay taxes and employ even more local people.
5. Internet businesses do very little if anything at all to help my local economy.
6. My RAM 1500 likes the people who work there.

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2832 days

#16 posted 07-29-2012 03:51 PM

Zinderin- I find that it is nice to be able to go in and stare at all the tools and see for myself if I like something and get informed opinions. I wouldn’t have made any pens if it had been based solely on buying off the internet. Course that might mean that I’d have just saved the cost of the pen making equipment but that wouldn’t be as much fun.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View handi's profile


141 posts in 4436 days

#17 posted 07-29-2012 03:56 PM

I taught classes at the Woodcraft store near me when I lived in NH, and I just started teaching at the Woodcraft in Franklin, TN near where I live now.

I always pointed out to those in class that the classroom space was highly valuable and could have been used for more selling, but instead was there to serve them.

That alone is worth not only the trip for me (2 hours in NH and 45 minutes now) but also worth buying from them if only to insure that the class space is there tomorrow!

Yes, they both sell on Amazon, but can Amazon teach you how to get the most from your router? How to use a skew chisel on the lathe? How to program that new CNC you bought?

I have nothing against online shopping, I do it often, but I also make sure to shop at those local stores that offer me the service I want to help insure that they are there the next time.


-- Watch Woodcademy free on Amazon Prime!

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3157 days

#18 posted 07-29-2012 04:12 PM

I too teach classes at WC(in VA). Ya can’t always get the same thing from reading a book or watching a video. But I like books and videos too. The classroom setting is just another tool in the toolbox.

PS: It costs me $15 in gas for each trip up there, which comes out of my own pocket. I do it for the money, but I wouldn’t trade the warm fuzzies of helping a woodworker for anything.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View RoodyJ's profile


47 posts in 2863 days

#19 posted 07-29-2012 05:14 PM

I feel for the franchisees at the closing store. My own venture into specialty retail (several years back) went south after the “big boys” started carrying the same lines. I could offer great advice and service, but couldn’t compete on the pricing.
I worked most recently for a franchise company, finding and setting up sites. Unfortunately, over the past few years, many of these these new franchisees have had the same story as the woodcraft store. The ones who are still there are struggling to stay afloat. Even though a franchise usually has tremendous logo and brand backing, selling “commodities” is a tough business.
I wish them well in their future.

-- Jim, Maryland

View Handtooler's profile


1553 posts in 2129 days

#20 posted 07-29-2012 05:38 PM

Handi, Where is your store in Franklin? I suppose from Soddy Daisy I might take 111 toward I-40 like going to Nashville then get over somewhere above Murphesboro to find Ya’ll. Can I get on a monthly sale and class schedule like the one Chattanooga use to have? Russell

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View Bertha's profile


13525 posts in 2690 days

#21 posted 07-29-2012 06:49 PM

I treated Woodcraft (when I had one) like a petting zoo. I’d go pet the big PM shelix at least once a week;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3685 days

#22 posted 07-29-2012 07:28 PM

Bertha , LOL : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View CyberDyneSystems's profile


261 posts in 2185 days

#23 posted 07-29-2012 08:55 PM

I also loved to grab close out and clearance items..
Not too mention, I really liked the manager of our local store. I was able to steer some business his way, and in turn he’d give me better than advertised prices pretty regularly.

You can;t get that kind of business relationship from Amazon/Internet stores.

... and Yeah, there’s the “petting Zoo” factor! :-)

Lastly, it was the live demo that sold us on a $5K Industrial SawStop.

The saddest part, they did not stay open long enough to sell us the saw :-(

I had to buy form a “local” Mom and pop that was out of state. (remember this is RI, where Conn and Mass are also “local” ;-)

-- Without the wood, it's just working

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2968 days

#24 posted 07-30-2012 01:23 AM


Franklin Woodworking Supplies at Woodcraft – Woodworking Store …

209 South Royal Oaks Blvd Watson Glen Plaza Franklin, TN 37064. Call Us: (615) 599-9638. Fax Us: 615-599-8524. Email Us: …

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2245 days

#25 posted 07-30-2012 03:41 PM

I buy a lot of my stuff at woodcraft. I could probably get slightly better deals on Amazon, but I want them to stick around. If If I buy something online from them, I do it in the store. It still gets shipped to my house and is the same exact price, but the store gets credit.


View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8037 posts in 2325 days

#26 posted 07-30-2012 06:02 PM

Back when Woodworker’s Warehouse was still in business, I almost always chose to shop there over the new Woodcraft in Newington. The Woodcraft prices just seemed to be off the charts high. So when the Woodcraft franchise holder moved his location a mile or so away (to what I’m assuming was cheeper realestate) I never bothered to go see the new store for years.

Getting my new shop set up this past winter and getting back into non-construction related WW projects since, I’ve paid them several visits and I must say, I’m pretty impressed.

They seem to be much more competitively priced on many items than in the past and the sale prices are pretty good. I’m not in the Powermatic/General/Unisaw/Festool price bracket…. so most of my fixed machines continue to be 2nd hand refurbs….

Recently, I found myself doing just the opposite of what usually happens these days. I researched and shoped on Amazon, and then ran down to Woodcraft after work to buy it off the shelf.

Not every purchase qualifies for free shipping and not every one that does is over $25.

The guy was very helpful and knowledgeable, and even though I’d seen several videos on Youtube about burnishing scrapers…. the guy at Woodcraft demonstrated it for me and then coached me through the process.

I will say this though…. if a customer is standing at the counter to make a purchase and both registers are powered up and waiting…. one of the guys on the floor needs to man register #2 and ring you up post haste.

I recently had to put my purchase back on the shelf and walk out the door because I couldn’t wait any longer.

I’m not normally in such a hurry…. but when the wife calls on the cell and says, “I’m standing outside the grocery store and the icecream is melting…where are you” ... well then it’s time to go

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2511 days

#27 posted 07-30-2012 06:47 PM

I gotta be honest, I live very close, (Cleveland, TN), to that Woodcraft store and I tried, I really, really tried to patronize that store. Their location was premium, (right on a great part of Brainard Rd in Chattanooga, and they were in a really nice, new strip mall. So they had premium rent to boot. I bought a lot of wood and other small things from them, but just could not justify the wood anymore once I found Chattanooga Hardwoods. A lot of people I know here in the Chattanooga area run down to Kennasaw, GA to Peachtree Lumber for their exotics, but with gas, and if you don’t buy a lot, well Chattanooga Hardwoods is putting in a lot of exotics these days, and where else in Chattanooga you gonna find 5/4 African Mahogany in 10-12” wide planks for $6.50 a bd. ft.?
I buy AA flame maple from them for $5.00 a bd.ft., and their #1 planed 4S 4/4 red oak, some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, runs $3.50.
I bought my wood chiesels, some sharpening supplies, dust collection odds and ends, and other things like dyes from Woodcraft, but after a while, I just could not justify the wood or any of it, and Chattanooga Hardwoods, if you tell her what you want, (like Jatoba), she will put it in stock and its cheap. Also, it’s a heck of a lot less gas for us SE Tenn people than Peachtree Lumber, good as they are.
It was a great store with really nice people, but they just were laboring under too much overhead.
What Chattanooga really needs?? A store that supplies exotic lumber out of one of these empty buildings on the South Side, with planking and resaw service. The rest of it I can get online…

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View MattinCincy's profile


128 posts in 3150 days

#28 posted 07-30-2012 09:13 PM

Here in Cincinnati we have a Rockler and A Woodcraft less than a quarter mile from each other and both of them have recently moved into larger stores. Somehow they coexist and are both able to remain profitable. We’re really lucky to have them and I shop both about equally.

-- Wag more, bark less.

View Domer's profile


252 posts in 3363 days

#29 posted 07-30-2012 09:39 PM

I shop a lot at my local Woodcraft in Kansas City. I know I probably pay a little more than ordering off the internet but just like Syenfarmer says, they contribute to the local economy.

But the real reason is that the guys at our local Woodcraft are just as nuts about tools and woodworking as I am. Maybe a little more.

I have gotten great advice from them and that has been worth well more than I have perhaps over paid them. Americans are crazy. They want everything for free and seem to be unwilling to pay for expertise.

And that’s the truth.


View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2983 days

#30 posted 07-31-2012 12:37 AM

I am a huge supporter of my local woodcraft. It’s run by really great people who truly care. I’m sad to hear of another one closing.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Howardh's profile


23 posts in 2131 days

#31 posted 07-31-2012 02:05 AM

Our local Woodcraft in Dallas is part of a six store Texas group owned by the same guy. It’s the smallest store, by far, and the oldest. Houston, San Antonio and Austin all have new spaces with up to 3 times the space. They always seem to be pretty busy but I have noticed some turnover in the ee’s lately. They have a few guys there who have been there forever and they are a great resource. They are also great to be around and just hang out on a Saturday and that you can’t replace by the internet.

-- If you learn from your mistakes I must be a genius.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2920 days

#32 posted 07-31-2012 02:33 AM

I quit going to the WC store in Columbus Ohio because the woman there followed me around like a little puppy dog. I came within an inch of telling her one day,they had nothing in that store I couldn’t buy and I didn’t have to check with my wife to buy it but it was easier to just go another 10 miles to the WoodWerks store. Their loss.
I am very happy with the WC store in Clearwater even if it is 35 miles one way. I’ve had good service and good help from them. They are a little pricy but they usually have what I go for. If I have time to wait I use the Internet.
I am sorry to hear the store is closing though. Hate to hear about any jobs loss.

Tennessee I would be interested in an addy for Chattanooga Hardwoods. I go thru there once in a while.(up 75 then 24 to Nashville)

-- Life is good.

View bruc101's profile


1200 posts in 3538 days

#33 posted 07-31-2012 04:51 AM

I’ve never been in a WC and have never ordered anything from them. It’s sad to see some of their stores having to close because of the economy but many other stores are still closing also. Our HD came close to shutting down last year because of the economy. They’re still open but my understanding is they had to lay off people and make other cuts as well. I very seldom buy anything from them either. We have two locally owned builder supply stores so I support them and there’s not that much difference in price. I get discounts there but HD won’t even discuss it with me.

The last time I went to Highland Hardware I said that would be my last trip there. I had spent 1000’s of dollars with them over the years and they seem to have forgotten that the last time I was in there.

I’ve also spent 1000’s of dollars with Stone Mt. Power Tools and they remember when I either call or walk in their door and I’ve yet not to be treated with respect in there and usually save money when buying from them.

We can feel things going down again with our regular vendors for our cabinet shops and that tells us more things about how the economy in our area is not gaining very much if any at all in our industry.

One thing we do is take care of our equipment and not abuse it and have to either replace or do a lot of repairs on any of it. I’ve bought nothing in years for my personal shop and have everything I need to build probably anything with wood so I’m not interested in all the new trendy things constantly showing up.

I know a guy does woodworking for a hobby and has probably $20K worth of equipment and all he builds is bird houses, boxes and cuttin boards. To each his own though. I’ve got another friend that builds beautiful QueenAnne furniture with probably $3k invested in equipment.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View helluvawreck's profile


31056 posts in 2863 days

#34 posted 07-31-2012 02:57 PM

There will probably be a lot of retail stores closing in the coming few years. First of all, the economy is not picking up. People are in debt and a lot of people are out of work. Retail chains are adding stores to increase their sales but they are finding that their sales per sq foot are falling. People will use the brick and mortar store to go check out the merchandise to decide if they want it and then go home and order it on the internet after finding the cheapest price. There’s less traffic at the shopping centers because people are staying away but also because there is empty spaces all over that don’t draw traffic. Commercial property is probably going to take a big hit, too.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View SCABrown's profile


18 posts in 2538 days

#35 posted 08-11-2012 11:36 PM

Well as a former employee of the Chattanooga store, It certainly was sad to see it go. I had the pleasure of working with one of the best bosses I have ever had, Rodney “The owner”. The managers Chris and Colby. As well as Bill and Brody. It was a great run. But the Chattanooga market wasn’t too great for the store. and the economy certainly didn’t help either. But heres to you Rodney for keeping the doors open as long as you could.

-- Aaron

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2958 days

#36 posted 08-13-2012 05:47 PM

I enjoyed the Woodcraft store in Chattanooga. Had lots of interesting conversations with the employees and tons of advice. Nearst to me is Knoxville- 75 miles! Getting where I don’t like to shop via Internet. Post office lost our grandson’s birthday present and all I got was excuses as to why I didn’t get it.

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2922 days

#37 posted 08-13-2012 06:02 PM

We don’t have Woodcraft in Canada, but I have spent quite a few hours in the Franklin TN store while killing time before flying home after meetings. Knowledgeable staff and friendly service.

Lee Valley would be the closest thing I would compare it to, and fortunately we have one only half an hour from my place.

Sorry to hear of the loss of the store!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View TraveledSome's profile


30 posts in 2214 days

#38 posted 10-20-2012 06:10 AM

Argh, I hate to read this tonight, I had planned to go there tomorrow morning, and only now found out. (it’s been awhile) I live in Lakesite area (Hixson-Soddy) and desperately need a REAL woodworking store. I am restoring a Grizzly G1023, and needed to talk to someone about arbor bearings. Is there ANY place in Chattanooga area open on Saturdays? Walter Woods is closed, Red Bank Mine Supply is closed, Dixie is closed, every darn store in area I need to get to is closed on my only day off.

I’m sad to see you guys closed. I have to admit I have been among those that came and didn’t buy…..much. I did get tools etc online/harbor freight because Heck I am on tight budget have a baby, and it’s tough to make ends meet, I make no apology for doing what is best for my family and budget.

However I did buy books there, and seldom left without getting some tidbit, books more then anything, because i don’t like buying them sight unseen. I probably have spent a few hundred worth on those, and there might be some little item I just could find no where else and HAD to get then, and so they were good for that.

Realisticly my wife and I both work, and have a 18 month, and it’s just a tight period. My first go to store is the Tractor Supply because their close, and surprisingly have a better selection on many NEEDED things more then Woodcraft, and all the big box stores, and even home Depot, but with harbor freight prices. There wasn’t a single store in town that ccarried V-belts for saw for instance…..not even Walter Woods…and auto stores carry crappy ones. Tractor Supply has it! But they don’t have specific wood working tools….

I wanted to take Woodcraft classes as well but honestly it’s on the other side of town, and not easy for me to get to, and they are not cheap either. I really think they would have done better on the north side of town. Yes I know 75 is busier….but the people who hobby woodcraft, and have the incomes to buy the highgrade handtools they carried are much more common in Hixson to Dayton. I can say that as a bargain hunter by the fact of what you find at estate/garage sales around town. Without giving too much away on my favorite places to look, you just don’t find much at garage sales in east Brainerd. If it was say around 153 Northgate, I think a store would do well.

The things they did best in my opinion was their exotic woods, book area, and the classes I didn’t get to attend, but looked on some with envy. For tools etc….they have to be more of a place to get those items other stores don’t carry that you need in a pinch…like ummmm…..Arbor bearings… :P Machine Belts….those things I would buy because no one else has them or if they do their closed on Saturdays… :(

-- "People are eternally trying to walk out of difficulties, instead of trying to work out of them."

View Straightbowed's profile


717 posts in 2295 days

#39 posted 10-20-2012 06:33 AM

yes I love the woodcraft they is always nice to me when I go to louisville and nashville itsa hundred miles for me but I still love the woodcraft store hate to see this happen

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

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