DOVER -- Expert craftsman and woodworking entrepreneur Mark Sprague is setting up shop in a section of Dot's Restaurant.
"I decided that as soon as this room became available, I might as well give it a shot and see what happens," Sprague said.
He hopes that this new showroom in the Mountain Park Plaza will help him gain momentum for his business, Far Beyond Woodworking.
The grand opening is today.
Most of Sprague's projects entail customer requests. He is known for his custom work.
Sprague has done most of his business out of his workshop on the end of a private street called Far Beyond Road, which is a dead end, where there wasn't enough exposure to customers who didn't already know his work.
"I would do art shows in the summer and fall, but had no exposure in the winter," said Sprague.
With the showroom being in the same building as Dot's Restaurant, he thinks more people will be stopping by his store. "There's a lot of foot tracks going into Dot's," Sprague said.
He plans to alternate between spending time at his building on Far Beyond Road, which will remain as his workshop. He will be working with his girlfriend and perhaps a hired worker.
The new showroom at Dot's will be open during weekends and holiday weeks from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m..
This space used to be where the Trailsedge gift shop had been located. Its owners have not left but they have moved their shop to a bigger room in the building.
Sprague's showroom will contain products such as sofa tables, hall tables, wine cabinets, filing cabinets, cutting boards, coat racks, step stools and more.
One item that Sprague considers a specialty is a casserole dish carrier, which is used to bring the casserole from the oven to the table or to a friend's house.
"It's a really cool little piece," he said.
Sprague also has a wine bottle holder called a wine rock, which he holds the patent for.
Sprague has made it his personal mission to have a piece of his woodwork in every state of the U.S., which he has just succeeded at.
"I finally got one in Hawaii," he told the Reformer. "This guy bought a wine rock."
Over the years, Sprague used a map and pinned a state if he had not sold a piece of his work that had gone there. In addition to the U.S., he also has work that's gone out to New Zealand, Australia, Israel, Germany, France, Portugal, Spain and Canada.
"It's kind of fun to keep track of where they're going," he said.
Sprague attends about 22 art shows a year, which start in the middle of May. The first one for this year will be at the University of New Hampshire. These shows help him attract new customers and gain exposure.
He attends shows in every state of New England as well as other states such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
Sprague is a one-man show, he said. All the work that he sells has been created by himself. Far Beyond Workworking has been a full-time business since 1997.
His web-site should be up in a few weeks, but he has an e-mail for anyone interested in his work, farbeyondwoodworking @gmail.com.
"Every piece is fascinating to me. I literally love what I do. I am married to my work," Sprague said.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.