TOWNSEND — It’s 50 years and counting at the Settle Shop on Main Street in West Townsend. The shop, which opened in a two-car garage in 1958 and has since grown to two locations, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and owner Al Cadrette shows no signs of slowing down.
“We’re going green,” Cadrette said. “We recently put in all florescent lights in the shop and the annex. Hopefully this will keep some energy costs down.”
Begun as a business venture between Cadrette’s first wife, Ruth, and a friend in 1958, the store started as a gift shop. With Al in the furniture trade in Lunenburg, furniture was naturally added to the business.
Cadrette and his wife bought out the friend’s interest in 1980 and it’s been in the family ever since.
Today the store is run by Cadrette and his two assistants, Maria Peduzzi and Carol Campbell. “They take care of the gift shop ordering. They are great; they know what everyone wants,” Cadrette said.
The shop specializes in early American and Shaker reproduction furniture and can custom order many other different styles.
Cadrette, who has lived across the street from the shop since 1966, has seven children who all live in the area. Youngest son John was busy in the furniture annex on the day of this reporter’s visit.
The Settle Shop name derives from an old term for a deacon’s bench, one of the shop’s specialties. “A settle bench is just another name for a deacon’s bench,” Cadrette said. “We still make them here.”
Today, some of the furniture still comes from the area, using pine cut at a locally owned sawmill. Other furniture comes from Pennsylvania and some from Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
The original store grew from the two-car garage to a two-story building with multiple rooms. “I spent a lot of hours pounding nails here,” he said.
Cadrette originally lived in the house adjacent to the shop, raising five children until the 1790 building became too crowded. They then moved across the street. “It was good we did,” he said. “We had two more children after that.”
The shop is keeping up with the times with its own Web site but Cadrette doesn’t think that will effect his business much. “People still like to see in person the furniture they are going to buy.”
Today, Cadrette keeps busy with his other hobby, classic car restoration. He has a 1912 Model T in the barn behind the shop and plans to bring it out for town parades and shows. “I have a love of old vehicles,” Cadrette said. “A friend and I got together and did this with my son.”
After 50 years in Townsend, Cadrette feels he might just be settling into life in the town.
“I think we might have been here just long enough now to be Townsend people,” he said.