For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumni, Ted Kirkpatrick ’05 and Adrian Pennachetti ‘05, who saw a business opportunity that was both environmentally sustainable and prosperous. Read about how these two Ridleians started Tree to Table – a Niagara based company that salvages, mills, cuts and converts reclaimed wood into live-edged tables.
In 2001, Ted and Adrian first met. Throughout the course of their time as Tigers, both boys were active members of the Ridley community. Ted and Adrian were House Captains during their final year, they could be often found on the field or rink, and were both involved in the arts at Ridley – working on set designs and playing in the Cadet Band.
After Ridley, Adrian and Ted attended McGill University and Wilfred Laurier University, respectively. It was years later, when both Ridleians had their focus directed elsewhere, that Tree to Table was born. After a wind storm at Adrian’s family farm, Ted and Adrian were cleaning up the fallen trees. A beautiful, black walnut tree had come down and they didn’t want to see it go to waste. They saw the potential to turn it into a piece of furniture, and a business was born. Ted did wood-working as a hobby, and while at Ridley, both Ted and Adrian learned wood-working skills from Mr. Giles Campbell, the Design Technology teacher, who still teaches students today.
When Ted and Adrian graduated high school, they left Ridley with time-management skills and the ability to focus on the task at hand, but they said that their biggest take-away was the connections they made. When their business began to take off, their Ridley connections were the direct cause. Their workshop was rented from a Ridley parent, many of their first customers were Ridleians, and their materials were – and still are – harvested and collected from a Ridley family farm.
Ted and Adrian take great care in ensuring their products are completed with the utmost quality and sustainability. It can take up to eight months for a product to be completed, from the collecting of the dead trees to the sealing of the tables. All of their wood is salvaged from standing dead trees, which would have otherwise been used for firewood. The wood must then be brought to the sawmill, stacked, and fully dried out, all before they begin to form the reclaimed wood into a usable table. Although it may seem like a long process, it ensures that Tree to Table remains green, and that each customer receives a top of the line product.
In the last four years, business has been nonstop for Tree to Table and has nearly doubled each year since they began. One of the company’s recent jobs was creating and installing all of the live-edge tables in Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Garrison House. Since both Ted and Adrian have full-time jobs, they work hard to maintain a balance between their other commitments and Tree to Table. While they love their other jobs, Tree to Table gives them a creative outlet and a place to relieve stress. With their recent success, the business partners have begun discussing where to take their company next.
To Ridleians who are looking to start their own businesses, Ted and Adrian gave some of advice:
“When you see an opportunity, you have to capitalize on it. Don’t wait around. Be mindful of your life. Find a healthy balance between your work and your personal life. Let your business flourish, but not at the expense of your wellbeing”
– Ted Kirkpatrick ‘05
“Be a sponge. Ask questions and surround yourself with strong mentors.”
– Adrian Pennachetti ‘05
TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing.
Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to firstname.lastname@example.org.