'FAMILY' BUSINESS SURVIVES AFTER PATRIARCH'S DEATH
By ALAN WALSH
Section: BUSINESS MONDAY
Intelligencer Journal (Lancaster, PA)
Published: February 6, 1995
LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - In late 1993, Fredrick Taggart worked at his father's Mount Joy wood restoration shop, and he planned eventually to take over the business.
But his father Donald died on Dec. 11, 1993, leaving Fredrick and Emily's Woodworking _ which had been named after the two Taggart children _ to Taggart, 26, long before he expected it. His death threw the business into limbo, and the younger Taggart, his fiance, mother and sister, have spent the past year struggling to revive the business they don't want to see disappear.
The work is beginning to pay off and the 330 W. Main St. shop has lately generated more business.
"Getting through the first year on our own was tough," said Taggart. Business slowed down dramatically after his father's death, and the family struggled to make the mortgage payments.
"The return business is coming in. People are hearing we are back in business," he said.
In recent years, Donald Taggart specialized in restoring wooden church pews, but in earlier years had worked on wooden household furniture.
Since Fredrick took over, the business has broadened again into residential furniture work.
"The residential work helps fill the gaps between the church work," Taggart said. "It takes a year or two years to book a church from the time you contact them. They have to meet with committees and start fund raising."
Taggart learned most of the trade secrets from his father before he died _ like how to specially treat and refinish wood without damaging the fiber _ but he needed help organizing the books and had to learn how to approach banks for loans.
So he and mother Shirley Taggart enrolled in the Mennonite Economic Development Associate's ASSETS program, a course designed for small and start-up businesses.
It instructs business owners in a range of skills such as marketing and and provides mentorship from people with experience in various fields.
ASSETS taught the Taggarts what they needed to know to approach a bank for a business loan and to refinance property.
We decided that all of us should take this class so we all could get something out of it," Taggart said. "They had someone who told us what the banks look for."
ASSETS also helped the group understand accounting and financial statements better.
The information they learned from ASSETS is already paying off.
Taggart hired a wood craftsman, Matt Basham, to assure quality work.
The business has won jobs from St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church, Isaac's and Strawberry Hill Restaurant, Hampton Inn and Millersville University.
The Taggarts have signed new tenants to fill extra space in the Mount Joy warehouse that houses the woodworking shop.
They have placed advertisements in York, Harrisburg and Myerstown phone books in an attempt to expand their market area.
And where many businesses fold when the founding craftsman or entrepreneur passes on, Fredrick and Emily's is living on in the family.