Duo excels at woodworking, crafting
EAST WINDSOR, Conn. — After 10 years of crafting various wood and jewelry projects, Mike and Erica Giroux have finally hit a boom with their small business and have experienced a busy month of December.
The business is officially known as The Playful Peacock LLC, but the couple also calls themselves Giroux Woodworking, which is based out of their home on Depot Street in the Broad Brook section of town.
The two produce all kinds of woodcrafts, such as house signs, home décor, holiday ornaments, cornhole boards, and much more. On the side, Erica also produces homemade jewelry. In 2019, the couple purchased a CNC wood router, which is a computer-controlled router machine that carves and etches images into a piece of wood based on templates that are fed into a software.
Mike said although it took time to master, the CNC greatly accelerated the pace by which the business could produce a product.
“I would be out in the garage for five to six hours hand carving wooden flags, and I said to myself, ‘there has to be a quicker way,’ so I started looking up CNC wood routers and Erica let me pull the trigger on one and it’s just kind of evolved since then,” Mike said.
He continued, “I remember the first night trying to run it, she got mad, stormed off, and said, ‘This is a waste of money, you’re never going to get it to work,’ and I was up until 3 in the morning, and all I remember is we had a Westfield River brewing event and I carved a sign with a hop cone on it. A simple hop cone took me almost three days.”
Erica said when the cost of wood drastically went up earlier this year the two were thankful to have received money from the town’s E.R.A.S.E grant program, which distributed money to more than 100 small businesses and nonprofit organizations that were negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were at the point where wood prices went sky high and we had to stop doing cornhole boards because we would have had to charge $600 per board,” Erica said. “We were sending people away, which hurts your heart because this is your business. We didn’t feel right taking people’s money and it not being fair.”
Erica said she thinks the business has been experiencing a boom over the course of the past month because more people are realizing how important small businesses are as a ripple affect of the pandemic.
“I think people are so appreciative now after COVID and there’s this attitude of ‘we’re all in this together.’ I’m seeing it right now more than ever. It feels different this year, and obviously the holidays are awesome for business too,” she said.
Erica said she and Mike work well together because she is the crafty minded one while he is more of the engineer.
“I am into designing and throwing paint everywhere, and that is just not him at all,” she said. “Mike is very precise and good at what he does and then I add the creativeness of it all.”
First Selectman Jason E. Bowsza, who stopped by earlier this year to see the couple’s operation, praised their efforts.
“I think it’s really awesome that they are turning a hobby into a passion, into a business,” he said. “They are very involved in the community and the community as a whole is receptive to supporting them.”