In 1975 my parents Jean and Jim Meyer opened a store on Watson in St. Louis called The Wood Den. They made childrens toys, refinished furniture, and built wooden projects for customers. In the evenings they would be open for a few hours. I have good memories from watching my parents create things. After a couple years they closed the store.
I was in the Marines from 1989 to 1995. In 1992 I was on a training mission in Kentucky. While out in the woods for days, I made my first carving. It was a walking stick. Right away I could tell that this was a hobby I could enjoy and do in my free time
For a number of years while I finished college, got married, started my teaching job and had two children, I handcarved many figurines and signs for family and friends. In 2000 I began selling my carvings at a store in Ste. Genevieve.
In 2002 a store in Ste. Genevieve that was selling many of my small carvings closed. I went to the store to pick up my signs and carvings. On the way home I decided to open my own store as a hobby and just be open nights. For one year my store was next to Calliers meat market in Ste. Gen.
One day in Crystal City I went into a Dog Grooming business to check the price of getting my bulldog's nails trimmed. It was an old rundown building that used to be a railroad depot 100 years ago. My first thought was "I might be able to afford a building like this". A few months later I bought the depot at hwy. 61 and Main st. For 10 years I ran my business from the Depot, only open a few hours in the evening after my teaching job.
In 2013 my shop had outgrown the depot and the lot it sat on. Nearby another property became an option to rent . It had more space and the opportunity to build a warehouse.
Since 2014 we have been at 2 North 6th st. in Festus. I retired from my First grade teaching job with 20 years and now run The Wood Den full time.
My vision for this business is to be a destination in the St. Louis area where people come to get custom made products and gifts. A visit to the Wood Den would be a friendly experience where you could see carvings and wood products being made. It would include a tour and explanation of our process along with interesting stories. Our next location would be a huge open store with a cabin feel, similar to a Bass Pro shops store. The entire back of the store would be glass so that customers could stand and watch chainsaw carving live along with a sawmill in action. Inside the store we would have handcarvers creating small animals or Santa claus figurines for sale. The majority of items for sale would be created on the site by hand.
Our second location in Festus