Fast forward a few months I found myself the newest and youngest Shopsmith store manager as what we called the "Boston" store, in Chelmsford, MA. For the first few months of the stores' existence, we sold tools with the promise that as soon as we could find and train someone to be our Academy instructor we would begin conducting classes. But as the months dragged on and on we discovered that what was reasonable and customary pay for an Academy in most parts of the US was ridiculously low in New England. We actually started flying in instructors from our stores in Albany, NY and Cincinnati just to stem the flow of folks who were threatening to return their tools because we weren't living up to our promise of training and support.
It really was an exciting time! I started conducting the weekly Thursday night "Sawdust Sessions" and when one visiting instructor wound-up doubled-over sick in his hotel room for the weekend I jumped-in and conducted the "Fundamentals of Woodworking Class" by myself, while my Assistant Manager, Matt Kottman took over the sales floor. Not only did we hire one instructor, Norm Rose, but shortly after we hired a second instructor, Bill Carrol and a third expert named Bill Donahue. We became the only Shopsmith showroom that stayed open seven days a week and if Norm wasn't teaching, Bill C. was teaching, and regardless of who was teaching Matt and Bill D. and I were there offering additional support. (See photo from Dec 1999)
Shopsmith "Boston" store team, Dec 1989 L to R (standing) Bill Carrol, Matt Kottman,
Bill Donahue, Me (Scott Markwood) Sitting on rocking horse, Norm Rose.
|Norm Rose teaching turning at Shopsmith "Boston" Academy 1989|
|Me and Matt working the Shopsmith booth at a Home Show in Woburn, MA Jan. 1988|
As they expanded, Shopsmith shrank. Probably a bigger threat than competitive tools was the flood of Shopsmith's own past production that was finding its way back into circulation via eBay and later Craigslist. No longer were owners of their tools forced to return to the mother ship for parts and accessories, but rather they could purchase them used online. Lord knows they are built like tanks and rarely need servicing. That's right, Shopsmith became a victim of their own quality!
|Scott Markwood, 2019|
So that leads us to today. The factory is still chugging along slowly but steadily in Dayton, and there are more and more used tools to choose from on the second-hand market. But where can a new owner go for reliable information on the safe set-up and use of these tools?
|Conducting a class in LA 2018|
|Working in my shop with my sister Lisa|