Lynchburg Furniture Store Owner Needs Funds to Open Wood Working School

Lynchburg, VA - Furniture guy Thomas A. Johnson has set out to start a wood working school in Lynchburg.

He's already got a curriculum made up, but he still needs $5 million to get it off the ground.

Johnson started his furniture business, Thomas Johnson Furniture, a few years ago in downtown Lynchburg. But his dream has always been to open a school, and in a way, he's already got his first student.

"I'm like a little kid again, at 57 I'm like a child and I'm loving it. It's like going back to college," said Carl Jackson, an apprentice at the store. Jackson started at Johnson's sweeping the floor.

"There was plenty of cleaning up and getting dust in my face and nose."

Seven weeks later, he finished his first project: A nesting table that sits in Amazement Square.

"That's my first baby I'm so proud of that," said Jackson.

Now, he's hooked.

"I go home and I'm still thinking about wood. Wood, wood, wood."

This kind of passion is what Thomas Johnson wants to spread.

"Jesus Christ had 12 people and he taught them. They were disciples and apprentices, but he didn't keep them. After he taught them he sent them out there," said Johnson.

Just as the disciples spread the good word, Johnson wants to spread woodwork right here in the U.S.

"For me, to help save the American woodworking industry, this is the same concept. We have to bring them in and we have to train them and give them every tool they need and send them out there."

The school would have one or three year programs. Students would learn to make anything from cabinets to bedroom sets and teach them how to sell it. His goal is to bring the skill back to America, to create jobs and put passion back in people's lives.

People like Jackson.

"You could bottle it up and sell it. I'm trying to tell you. You couldn't even put a price on how happy I am. I am full of joy," said Jackson.

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