Sometimes the best people to sell a product are mom and dad.
Joyce and Joe Miles recently opened the Miles Woodworking retail store at 1305 Cornwall Ave. Their son, Joe Miles III, builds a variety of quality furniture with the goal of making it last for generations.
Joe Miles III has lived in Whatcom County for 13 years, but his parents moved here about a year ago from Connecticut to support his work, which includes building desks, tables and chairs. The parents had one caveat if they were to sell furniture: Joe Miles II would have a memorabilia shop inside store. That led to the founding of Joe’s Baseball Cards & Memorabilia.
“The sports shop is not the reason we’re here, but it’s more of a fun hobby for me,” Joe Miles II said. “But we realized that it does work well together, especially with the photos and the furniture.”
It’s a combination that customers don’t see often. Stores featuring custom-made furniture can be hard to find, and baseball card shops have been disappearing from today’s brick-and-mortar retail landscape. It’s two different businesses, and so far customers have reacted that way. Joe Miles II said so far customers interested in the furniture ignore the sports shop, while the baseball card fans barely notice the furniture.
Being parents of the furniture maker gives them a different perspective when talking to customers. It’s taken some time to learn the ins and outs of woodworking, but they can talk specifically about the work their son does; they also can emphasize the custom work he does and the willingness to do repair work.
“We’re in this for the long haul,” Joe Miles II said.
With the furniture being higher-end and built to last, prices range from around $500 to well over $1,000. A variety of wood is used to make the furniture, including walnut and maple.
The store and the woodworking shop aren’t the only family enterprises. Joe and Joyce Miles’ daughter-in-law, Gabriel, operates Gabriel’s Art Kids in Bellingham.
As for the sports shop, Joe Miles II said he is willing to do some trading and can do pre-orders. While he has older memorabilia, he also has current baseball cards. He offers other sports memorabilia, noting that the Seattle Seahawks and Sonics gear is very popular. He also sells signed and unsigned jerseys.
The store is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more details, call 360-306-3048 or visit mileswoodworking.com.
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