Everything old is new again at Whistling Duck Furniture in Vandergrift – Tribune-Review
Updated 4 hours ago
Apollo native Bill Walker lives in Colorado, but about every six weeks he returns to Vandergrift, with a truckload of custom furniture crafted from repurposed wood.
He delivers to his new store, Whistling Duck Furniture, located at 140 Grant Ave. in Vandergrift, where a grand opening reception was held on Nov. 17. A sister store, of the same name, opened in Centennial, Colo., in 2015.
He and wife Lori opened their furniture stores because it is “an interest and a hobby,” Walker says.
The Walkers additionally own a technology company and Lori is employed as a registered nurse.
Whistling Duck makes custom, hand-crafted furnishings and decor from sustainably sourced wood at its 4,000-square-foot wood shop in Centennial.
The couple also partners with Pittsburgh area woodworkers, Walker says.
The couple purchased the dilapidated building on Grant Avenue with the notion of relocating Whistling Duck from its old East Liberty location, which opened in 2015.
Year-long renovations at the new location included exposing the original brick, highlighting the original tin ceiling, painting, replacing the old carpet with bamboo flooring and updating the plumbing.
Whistling Duck features a “rustic elegant” concept, with signature pieces having a solid, close-to-nature feel, and yet are sleek and simple in their lines, says Vandergrift store director of operations Cindi Contie, a Vandergrift resident.
Custom orders, which make up the lion’s share of the business, have included bed frames, dining sets, tables and barn wood entertainment centers — made with beetle kill, ash lumber, Ponderosa pine, cherry, maple and other reclaimed wood.
Custom pieces range from $1,600 to $5,000 for a dining set and $39 to $120 for a wine rack.
“We try to be accessible at all price points,” Contie says.
A growing interest in re-purposed furniture by customers hasn’t gone unnoticed by Contie.
“People are appreciating that re-purposing makes good use of something that may have otherwise been wasted or discarded,” she says. “It draws on a natural delight for something that is creatively crafted.”
Contie and Bill Walker, Alle-Kiski Valley natives and friends, are both dedicated to contributing to the revitalization of Vandergrift, specifically working with the V.I.P. (Vandergrift Improvement Program), a nonprofit program committed to improving Vandergrift.
Walker says opening up a second store in Vandergrift just made sense.
“I come back here often and my family still lives here so it made good sense,” he says. “I want to help Vandergrift revitalize.”
“We focus on the fact that our furniture is reclaimed wood, not wood that was just cut down and comes from a lumber yard,” Walker says.
While custom furniture orders are the bulk of their business, 12 vendors occupy the store, offering their unique hand crafted items such as wine racks and even art.
The store is currently accepting additional vendors, Contie says.
Walker says he hopes to open a another Whistling Duck in Shadyside in the future.
Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.