"A lot has changed throughout the decades, but we have remained true to our roots"
The patriarch of Manchester Woodcraft, Ferdinand “Nundy” Bongartz, first fell in love with Vermont at the age of sixteen, while spending a summer exploring Vermont’s natural beauty. The two events that made a lasting impression on Nundy were hiking the Long Trail and canoeing the length of Lake Champlain. Having grown up in Bloomfield, New Jersey, the freedom, fresh air and stunning scenery of Vermont kept him coming back year after year.
After attending college and serving in the Navy during WWII, he made the decision to move to Vermont full-time. Nundy then built and ran a successful ski lodge, shuttling visitors to and from the train station and local ski areas. By 1950 he realized where his true passions lay and opened the doors to Manchester Woodcraft’s retail and factory store. Known for his fine craftsmanship, he created everything imaginable from wood--all of it made to be practical and useful. Many of his original jigs and patterns continue to be used and can still be found hanging from the factory ceiling.
Aside from being a craftsman, Nundy was a dedicated husband and father of five. All of his children helped customers and ran machinery at one time or another. Two of his daughters, Lauren and Jenny, chose to focus their energy on the business, taking over operations in 1996 and continue to do so to this very day.
Nundy passed away in 1997 but that didn’t stop Manchester Woodcraft from being a meeting place for family and friends alike. Many of his grandchildren spent their afternoons in the back room watching ski movies, playing with things they grabbed off the shelves, or relaxing after a long day at Bromley Mountain.
Some fine-tuning has taken place over the years, but the tradition of the small factory store full of wood, sawdust, laughter and a talented crew of local woodworkers lives on.
A look inside Nundy's wood shop