MOUNT JOY TRIO BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN ANTIQUE WOOD
By ED KLIMUSKA
Lancaster New Era (PA)
Published: December 16, 1996
LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - Furniture can get sick. Especially antique furniture.
It cracks. Its colors fade. It gets scratched. The good news is sick furniture can be restored to health. And a Mount Joy shop run by a Fredrick Taggart and his sister, Emily Taggart, is a furniture hospital that ranks with the best of them.
Out of a 13,000-square-foot warehouse, they operate Fredrick & Emily's Woodworking, a small business that restores antique and modern furniture. Their calling card: Fredrick & Emily's Woodworking is "Pennsylvania's finest furniture hospital."
First the basics:
* SHOP: Fredrick & Emily's Woodworking.
* LOCATION: 310 W. Main St., Mount Joy.
* SERVICES: Restores antique, commercial and residential furniture. Does stripping, refinishing and repairs.
* SPECIALTY: Restoring church furniture.
* PHONE: 653-4445 or 717-288-2722.
Taggart learned the fine art of furniture fix-up from his father, Donald, who had a woodworking business in Lancaster City for many years. It was a pretty good business, especially in restoring church furniture. He named it after his son and daughter, Fredrick and Emily, who are graduates of Lancaster Catholic High School. When he died three years ago, Fredrick took over the business and grew it.
Taggart runs the shop, which has a couple of workers. Emily helps out in all areas.
On the side, Emily has a niche business. With a friend, she makes historical lingerie and markets it under the name of The Philadelphia Ladies Finery Company.
"I can't really remember a time when I wasn't working with wood," Taggert says.
Since Taggart took over the business, he has expanded it three times. "We did what we had to do to survive," he says.
Fredrick and Emily's Woodworking now has customers all over southcentral Pennsylvania and its business extends into New York, New Jersey and Maryland. And, most important in the furniture business, Fredrick & Emily's Woodworking has a new truck.
As his business expanded, Taggart increased advertising. "But my business grew on referrals and return business," he says.
Over the years, Fredrick & Emily's Woodworking has done work for businesses such as the Hampton Inn and Issac's Restaurant. And it has restored woodwork in churches, including St. Phillip's the Apostle in Millersville and St. Patrick's Cathedral in Harrisburg.
Maybe the business has a chance to restore one of America's grandest Catholic churches, St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. The Taggarts have a bid in on the project and are waiting to learn if they get it. They bidding to restore some woodworking in the church.
It takes Fredrick & Emily's Woodworking about four months to restore a church interior, which includes removing all the pews and hauling them to the warehouse where the work is done.
About two-thirds of Fredrick and Emily's Woodworking business is in residential trade. The rest is split between businesses and churches.
And there's nothing they can't do. "We have avenues to get it done," Taggert says. What they can't handle in the shop they contract out to artists, upholsters and other people with specialized skills.
About 75 percent of their work involves antique furniture, which people often think is beyond repair. But, Taggart says, it's easier to restore antique furniture than modern furniture, which is often of lesser quality.
When Fredrick and Emily's Woodworking does a trade show, the craftsmen take along an old table, which is a half-and-half job. When Taggert bought it, it looked ready for the junk pile. He restored half of it, which vividly contrasts the "new" table with the old table.
When we saw the contrast, we said, "Wow - what a job."
And that's what many of Fredrick & Emily's Woodworking customers say when the business returns a piece of restored furniture to their homes. When it goes out, it looks like the bad half of the table. When it comes back, it looks like the good half.
From what we saw, we think you'll be thrilled with Fredrick & Emily's Woodworking. Hey, and the ladies might want to buy a nostalgic nightie from Emily. We're sure they'll be thrilled, too. Emily certainly will.