ROUSES POINT — Wooden it be nice to work in a field you love.
Scott Bleau started Northeastern Woodworking about 2 1/2 years ago after he lost his job as a research/regulatory auditor when Pfizer closed its Chazy research facility. That provided the impetus to start a business based on his love of working with wood.
He has about 15 years experience building cabinetry and furniture, which he did in his spare time prior to starting the business.
”I’ve always had a passion for woodworking,” he said. “I picked up some more equipment and jumped right into it.”
It started when he bought a house on Stewart Street in Rouses Point, as he watched and worked with his father-in-law, Clifford Ashline.
”He was a very skilled craftsman and carpenter,” Bleau said.
He said his grandfather, Marcel Bechard, was also a big influence in his development as a woodworker.
The kitchen in his present home was the second complete kitchen he designed and built. The design features white oak cabinets with black walnut accents.
Bleau said he built them from kiln-dried rough-cut lumber he bought at Adirondack Hardwoods in Saranac.
The initial focus was on furniture, but he has shifted the emphasis to custom kitchens and cabinets.
”There’s not as much demand for furniture,” he said.
He has designed and built seven complete kitchens, as well as numerous smaller projects.
”Everything I’ve done is custom-made to order,” Bleau said. “I really enjoy designing and building a kitchen.”
He was recently awarded a $35,000 Microenterprise Program grant through the Village of Rouses Point, funding obtained through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council. He said that funding will help him expand the business in a number of ways.
One is to open a storefront display in downtown Rouses Point this spring to make examples of his work more visible. Bleau also plans to carry a couple lines of custom cabinetry for people who don’t want to wait to have something custom made.