It all began in 1985...
In 1985, Normand LeClerc was approached by Peter True, owner of Cheshire, Connecticut's “True Refinishing”, with a business proposal. Mr. True was moving to Florida to retire and offered to sell Normand his refinishing business of 14 years. Normand had been working in the aerospace industry and leapt at the opportunity to become an entrepreneur and spend more time with his family. Normand was the son of a French-Canadian carpenter, and grew up with a love of building and fixing things. Normand was happiest when he was working with his hands on a challenging project such as repairing a broken chair, getting a small engine running, or even restoring an antique car for a client or his own small collection.
In 1986, Cheshire Furniture Refinishing (CFR) came into being in Normand's garage in Cheshire, Connecticut. At first business was slow, but as time went on, word of mouth spread through Cheshire and all over the state of Connecticut of the quality work that Normand LeClerc was producing.
With an increased customer base, CFR outgrew its initial home and relocated to a small commercial building on West Main St. in Cheshire. More employees were taken on to alleviate the greater demand now being placed onto CFR. The new and larger facility allowed for a new business venture into antique sales, and "Memory Lane Antiques and Furniture" was opened. As time went on, the desire grew to purchase a permanent shop location. The search ended in 1991 as CFR moved around the corner from West Main St to Willow St. Then in 2000, Normand's youngest son, Gary LeClerc, officially joined the CFR team. With a back-ground in art and a passion for fine style and design, Gary injected a fresh new perspective on the family business. Initially viewing CFR as a “stepping stone” to future ventures, Gary always says that he never intended on making furniture renewal his permanent career path. However, after only a few years of working for his father, Gary fell in love with the craft and found the art that made furniture renewal so exciting and rewarding.In 2005, Normand and Gary officially became partners and then in 2010, Gary took over CFR completely.
The Creative Spirit
This one is pretty easy to explain. It is that spirit that makes the hiker in the woods sit down on a rock by the edge of mountain, pull out his little pocket knife and begin to carve in to a piece of wood which moments earlier was lying next to him on the ground. We are all born with a creative spirit. Some of us find it quickly, and others take a lifetime to finally tap into it.
The Traditional Spirit
Often, we are being swept away on a daily basis by what we are told our life should be or look like or feel like. We are bombarded with so many new things, that we lose our connection to traditions. We take people for granted or we discard an old piece of furniture which was handmade by someone in the name of "updating". The Traditional Spirit is our anchor. Yes, at times it can hold us back, but it is also helps us from floating away.
The Innovative Spirit
Innovation is progression. It is that forward motion which is so exciting. It's the latest cell phone. The brand new car. The kitchen tool that slices and dices and can also prepare an entire meal for you. The Innovative Spirit, when embraced properly, can have beautiful synergy with the other spirits. Innovation is that inner drive to make things better and to introduce those things that the world has not yet seen. It's exciting, but by itself, innovation can lead us down a road of change that really has no heart. Innovation must be anchored by tradition and unleashed by creativity.
The Collaborative Spirit
I sometimes say that life would be easy if it weren't for people... but I don't really mean this. The Collaborative Spirit can help propel a project to new heights OR send it crashing to the ground. When we are able to bring in someone or a group of others into a project that share our vision to create something fantastic, the odds of us achieving that are increased exponentially. At [RE]new, our team collaborates everyday, we collaborate with outside artists, and we view our working relationship with our clients as collaboration. We aim to work with clients that want to see something great come out of our studio or to purchase something amazing from our gallery. Collaboration requires humility and patience by all which can be a struggle, but always proves to be worth it.
The Lean Spirit
Last but not least is The Lean Spirit. At [RE]new, we define The Lean Spirit as the daily pursuit of simplicity for the sake of true greatness. When one practices lean, they practice the art of eliminating waste and subtraction. The idea of simplicity is not often emphasized in our culture today. For example, the average house size in the 1950's was around 900 square feet. Today, it is well over double that. We keeping adding to our lives which means more maintenance and more expense. With The Lean Spirit, we leverage creativity and innovation to find ways to operate and live differently....simpler. We aim to eliminate wasted time, wasted effort, wasted resources, and wasted potential. Henry Ford said, "It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste."
The bottom line is this. While some businesses spend their entire existence trying to focus on several core services, [RE]new exists to develop as a company that is simply focused on several core spirits through which our products and services will flow. If we focus on the right spirits and on working with the right people, we will always see great things happen and amazing items leave our studio and gallery.
[RE]new is a life elements brand and I hope that you've been inspired by us.
Gary S. LeClerc
Founder of [RE}new furniture