Bear Wood Company: proof that starting a small business in the middle of a career is possible.
The successful start Bear Wood Company in Hurricane, W.Va. has enjoyed since opening in 2016 is proof that something old can be made new again. Like the reclaimed lumber the popular woodworking company turns into beautiful furniture and ornaments, owner Matt Snyder recreated his career by leaving a high-stress job in news to start Bear Wood.
“We were only online for a while and then the business just took off,” Snyder said. “We decided to jump in the deep end and moved into our brick and mortar store and we haven’t looked back since.”
Bear Wood has taken off. It’s furniture, shelves, picture frames, ornaments and incredibly popular cutouts of West Virginia are shipped all over the United States.
“Because we reclaim all our wood, everything we make has a story attached to it,” Snyder said. “And I think people really like the idea of having a real piece of home.”
There’s no handbook to success
While business for Bear Wood took off on its own, Snyder says there were a lot of things he wasn’t prepared for.
“There’s a myriad of stuff a small businesss comes up against,” he said. “And there’s no handbook for you to follow.”
Snyder connected with West Virginia Small Business Development Center business coach Doug Spaulding at a Putnam County Development Authority meeting. He said Spaulding and the SBDC took an interest in the business and helped Bear Wood get through some early growing pains.
“Sometimes, you need your hand held when you’re starting out,” he said. “Doug was there for us and answered a lot of questions we had.”
Snyder said having a business coach with experience in the day to day operations of a small business has helped Bear Wood grow.
“When you start a business, something is going to come up and you’ll need all the lifelines you can get,” he said. “You’d be foolish not to connect with the SBDC and take advantage of the resources out there.”
Continued growth thanks to hard work and sound advice
Bear Wood continues to grow. In 2018, the business opened a showroom on Quarrier Street in downtown Charleston and Snyder is currently preparing to move Bear Wood’s Hurricane shop into a larger space down the road from its current Main Street location.
“We’re going from 1,000 square feet of space to 4,000 after three years” he said. “That’s huge.”
The West Virginia Small Business Development Center supports small businesses through one-on-one coaching, training and facilitating connections to resources. Learn more about how a business coach can help your business by visiting wvsbdc.com.