Sanders said he ran his furniture business from the three-car garage at his Waynesboro home for eight years. "We outgrew it," he said. "We had to climb over furniture to get to furniture. It started as a hobby, but so much for 'hobby.' It increased very quickly."
Also the owner of DPS Handyman Service, Sanders said he and family members worked for about three months to prepare the old building for its new tenants. The hardware store closed two years ago, and its inventory was sold, he said.
The fixtures remain, however, and Sanders uses the counter and many of the old cabinets.
"I'd been eyeballing the building for more than two years," Sanders said. "I was thinking what to do with the property and how to lay it out."
Cleaning the old, flaking metal ceiling took two or three weeks, he said. He has separate rooms for sanding, spraying and sewing, and a room to store tools. His showroom and the antique store beside it fill large rooms with high ceilings. The work area seems immense, but "you get a three-cushion couch in here, the space disappears real quick," Sanders said.
Sanders, 45, first worked on a piece of furniture as a senior in high school, when he refinished a dining room table. "I like to take old pieces and see the before and after. All his work is done by hand except for the spraying on of lacquer.
Sanders' wife, Linda, is leaving her job at Beck Manufacturing Inc. in Greencastle, Pa., to help with the business. His brother helps on evenings and weekends, and his mother is the receptionist.
Many people share the Sanders' love for old wood and old furniture. "People don't like new furniture. It's made out of particle board or fiberfill. They go to yard sales and buy old furniture, and I get it (to refinish). A lot of late 1800s, early 1900s furniture had veneer, but they had solid planks beneath. Look at veneers now."
While he acknowledged that refinishing hurts the value of old furniture, "the family value is still there. Pieces are passed down in a family."
In Sanders' workshop is a pump organ that he is converting to a computer desk. "Chairs are the hardest to refinish because of the rungs and the legs," he said. "I can strip a piece in day, I can give it three coats of finish in a day; the sanding is what takes time."
The antique and furniture store in the buildings is "Seek No Further," owned by Robert and Twila Risser. South Potomac Lumber Co. has the Corian countertops, The Lumber Yard has the kitchen cabinets, and Sanders' mother, Elizabeth Wolff, runs her alterations business in a room behind the antiques.
"If it has something to do with a piece of furniture, we can do it," Sanders said.