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BY CAPTAIN D

THINGS
are getting balmier.

I have this on good authority from Leslie and Vincent Esposito, and if anybody knows which way the wind is blowing it’s these two.

Okay, bad joke. (Leslie and Vin, you see,  sell weathervanes at Woodshop Cupolas in Trenton, so naturally they know which way the wind is blowing.)

More seriously, however,  their business also gives them an unusually sensitive finger on the pulse of the economy. And, happily, they say they no longer see blight at the end of the tunnel.

”When the housing market tanked, our business went down with it,”
Leslie recounts, “But now we’re sensing the beginning of a recovery. We’re getting inquiries into both weathervanes and cupolas, especially the larger, more expensive units. It seems as though people with money
are getting ready to spend it.”

Leslie says these folks have picked an opportune time to go shopping.

“It’s been three years since we’ve revised our prices,” she points out. “We’re due for some increases, but haven’t gotten to them yet. If you’re in the market for a cupola, this is the time to get one.”

Over the years, Leslie has seen many twists and turns in the economy. She has been associated with the business since 1989, ten years after her father Phil built his first cupola. The business started out in Town Hill where 80-year-old Phil still maintains a shop in which he
builds all their handcrafted weathervanes.

As is true of many terrific businesses, Woodshop Cupolas began more or less by accident. Phil at that time was foreman for a large, local construction company when he was asked to provide a cupola for an
important client. When he couldn’t find one that matched his high standards, he decided to build one himself. The result was a truly excellent cupola.

Folks hereabouts know a good thing when they see one, and Phil’s outstanding workmanship was definitely a good thing. Orders for cupolas began pouring in. Whenever Phil built one, he would build a second identical one and offer it for sale. Buyers appeared as though by magic, and it wasn’t long before demand was so great that Phil decided to strike out on his own.

A master craftsman, Phil refused to cut corners. He insisted on using the finest materials assembled with methods usually reserved for high-quality cabinetry. He passed this art along to Leslie and, later, her husband. Today they build the cupolas in their shop on the Bar Harbor road in Trenton.

“Because we control the quality ourselves, each cupola comes with a written guarantee,” Leslie points out. “And since we are a small family team we can keep our prices affordable while offering a product that we are proud to sign.”

Along the way, they discovered they could sell cupolas online. They were early Internet devotees, posting their initial Website in the mid-nineties. It was an immediate success, and today they ship product all over the U.S. and Canada.

Along with cupolas, the company also sells a complete line of weathervanes. Acadia Weathervanes are dealers for several major manufacturers and also produce their own handcrafted copper weathervanes, all of which are built by Phil himself. Each vane is etched with his signature, copyright date and Bar Harbor, Maine, so people can be sure they have a genuine Phil Alley original. And, of course, each comes with a written guarantee.

It’s good talking to these guys. They have a heartfelt belief that so long as they offer excellent products at reasonable prices they need not fear occasional downturns in the economy. For them, there’s always light, not blight, at the end of that tunnel.