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Hidden Gems: Meet Dan Compton of Handy Dan Custom Craftsman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dan Compton.  

Hi Dan, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Like so many others, I was laid off when my employer cut staff due to Covid in 2019. I qualified for unemployment but it scarcely made ends meet. I began toying with the idea of building things in my garage to possibly sell to augment our income, but I wasn’t a carpenter by any means. I’d been following the teachings of Pastor Gary Keesee on YouTube and he always taught that God would give your ideas if you prayed in faith and asked for guidance. As I was watching one of his videos one day, he literally said, “Stop sending your business to others because you think you aren’t qualified to do it yourself. If you want a good chair, build your own!” A light went on after I heard that, so I ran upstairs and told my wife, “I think I’m supposed to learn how to build those Adirondack chairs we’ve always talked about buying”. So, through a lot of trial and error in designing my own, with many versions ending up in the fire pit, I finally came up with what I thought was a design I could be proud of and made us a set. Our neighbors would see them and ask me to build them a set, then some social media friends asked for some, and it just blew up! Since so many people were at home now, it seemed the timing was perfect for this business. Fast forward to 2022, and I’ve since built and sold upwards of 600 Adirondack chairs, along with benches, A-Frame bench swings, custom dog beds, dressers, tables, pergolas, decks, you name it. I even went back to my regular job, but the chair business allowed my family to get debt free, to pay cash for everything now, to give back to others and tithe generously, and it’s all been due to living through Kingdom principles. I proudly call my business a Christian endeavor and all the glory and success comes from Him. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Getting laid off during Covid really challenged me mentally in trying to stay positive. But my faith in God carried me and now life is amazing beyond what I ever could have imagi8ned. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
My specialty is Adirondack chairs, but I do everything from loveseats and benches of all sizes, playground A-Frames, and bench swings, hall trees, shelves, bedframes. Brookstone cooktop tables. If it’s made of wood, I can probably make it! Where others make their furniture out of staples and glue, I use heavy-duty exterior grade hardware screws and pressure-treated exterior lumber for all outdoor applications. What I’m most proud of is the honest, Christian values I have in my work and how I do business. 

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
What I like best about Johnstown is the small-town feel, with locally owned small businesses and dining. What I dislike however is with the coming corporate expansion, it’s slowly disappearing into history and becoming another cookie-cutter town taken over by large corporate chains. 

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