One rainy weekday morning, unit E-4 of an industrial complex was full of buzzing sounds, the loudest of them coming from a Northfield Foundry & Machine Co. 24-inch jointer planer.
The 70-plus-year-old machine is used to prepare wood for use in making furniture, and was recently rebuilt to run a little more quietly.
“I won’t be surprised if this is the only one still in use in the state,” Wes Price, owner of Brother Jack Woodworking, said. “It used to sound like an airplane taking off.”
Price rebuilt that machine and the others in the shop that manager Kevin Cattaneo and craftsman Dillon Seeley use to create everything from cutting boards and chess boards to massive tables, desks and signage. The shop is a long way from where Price started working on much smaller pieces for family and friends in 2015.
What began as a way to craft Christmas and birthday gifts for loved ones from the carport of his home quickly turned into a “side hustle” and is now a thriving business, according to Price, who says the company has created wooden works of art for large companies like the Atlanta Braves and, recently, a display case for the original for the 1996 Summer Olympics torch.
“I love the idea of making different things,” Price, 31, said.
Sitting at an oak table inside the Brother Jack Woodworking showroom, Price added, “The things that we are making here play a small part in people’s stories.”
Price’s story began in Cherokee County, where he grew a passion for adventure and for people. The Etowah High School graduate and self-proclaimed “people person” believes the best part of owning Brother Jack Woodworking is customers coming in with ideas and Price and his staff helping make them a reality.
“Community is a large part of what we do here,” Price said. “It’s my favorite when people come in here with a piece of wood or an idea and give us full reign over the project.”
That love for community ultimately led Price and his wife of nine years, Allie, to a very unique place and time in their lives. The pair met in Hyderabad, India, while working for Adventures in Missions, a Gainesville-based interdenominational missions organization.
“It was like missions meets the Peace Corps,” Price joked.
Wes was the team leader of a group of eight missionaries and Allie, a native Texan, was the group’s treasurer. The pair worked together during the 11-month, 11-country mission and haven’t separated since.
“That’s where Allie and I fell in love,” he remembered.
The couple — and now their children, Everest Jack, 5, and Lucy, 4 — have visited 50 countries. Travel is one of the family’s favorite activities, Price said, though he also enjoys climbing, hiking, playing soccer, performing magic and a couple reality television shows.
“Everyone has their own story and I didn’t want to write a boring one,” he said with a laugh.
Price’s story includes auditioning for the hit CBS reality series “Survivor” and the Netflix reality series “The Mole.” He has been in contact with producers from both shows and maintains goals of participating in either show.
“That’s still a dream of mine. I just think it would be so much fun.”
“Life is just an adventure,” Price, who once worked as a professional magician before he took up woodworking full-time, said. He sometimes entertains customers with magic tricks.
“There’s no telling what’s going to happen. It’s been a journey, but it’s been fun.”
Price’s hobby coaster sets and cutting boards began to go viral among his family and friend groups.
“People would ask, ‘Can I have one? We want one,’” he remembered. “The idea for a business just started from there.”
The Woodstock native, husband and father of two decided this early success could become something much bigger if he dedicated the necessary time and effort into starting a business. Price learned how to dedicate himself to a goal from his father, Don Price, owner of Atlanta Southern Paint Contracting in Acworth. Don taught his sons Wes and Win, 29, to finish what they started and always give their best efforts, Price said.
Owning his own business and doing what he loved for a living may have been tough at times for his father, but Price saw him weather those tough times to support their family along with his mother, Lisa.
“My father owned his own business for 40-plus years and I grew up in that world,” Price recalled. “Being able to work with my hands and turning something that no one else sees any beauty in and bringing it back to life is my passion.”
Price called his father a constant inspiration, not only as an entrepreneur and businessman, but as a father and husband as well.
“I saw how my parents raised my brother and me while making their marriage work,” Price said of his parents, who have been married for over 30 years.
Price’s own wife and kids are also big reasons why Price wanted to create a business where he can leave a legacy behind the way his father left one behind for him.
“They come in here and play in the sawdust; they are a big part of this business,” he said.
What’s in a name?
Price is often asked the story behind the business’ name. It’s not an everyday name for a woodworking business, after all. Price wanted to make sure a connection from his children to the business would always be apparent. The name “Brother Jack” represents Price’s son Jack and the time the family was preparing to welcome Lucy into the world. His son was becoming a big brother and that moment changed the family forever.
“The name ‘Brother Jack’ just felt right,” remembered Price. “It has a lot to do with legacy, and what I am instilling into my kids.Even after I am long gone, this business can be passed down.”
Also, Price thinks the name is a great conversation starter when he and his team are at area home shows. At those events and via the business’ Instagram and Etsy pages, Price has the opportunity to showcase Brother Jack Woodworking furniture, fixtures and home pieces for vast audiences.
There, he gets to tell the story over and over again.