For today’s Q&A with a local business owner, we hear from Tom Throop of Black Creek Designs. The Grove Street furniture designer and maker, a 1982 New Canaan High School graduate, has a number of pieces available. Here’s our exchange.
New Canaanite: Tom as far as I know, except for Primo your handsome Vizsla, you work alone there in the shop on Grove Street, so I don’t expect your day-to-day has changed too much in terms of the schedule. Even so, you have to be able to meet with those commissioning work from you or to show them what you’re doing. What has this experience of the COVID-19 public health emergency been like for you?
Tom Throop: You are correct, it has been pretty much business as usual for Primo and I. We are at the shop every day, I’m working on commissions and Primo is sleeping soundly. Fortunately there is plenty of space in my shop for me to meet with clients at a social distance. I have also been on several in home meetings to discuss specific issues and to give presentations for new pieces. This is all done in accordance to current health and safety guidelines, always masked and and socially distanced. I have the capability to do Zoom conferences when the need arises.
A lot of people are spending more time at home during the pandemic, and I imagine some of them are looking to complete home improvement projects, including redecorating. What demand, if any, are you seeing along these lines for Black Creek Designs furniture?
There has been an uptick in calls and meetings recently, which is nice. Often people get into their new homes and it takes a bit of time to get acclimated and to understand how a space can be used and what specific pieces of furniture are required. Those are things I can help out with.
We’re also seeing a lot of new homebuyers in New Canaan, including those coming up from New York City. Presumably they’re moving into larger spaces that require furniture. What sort of upticks in business, if any, are you seeing from them?
Over the years I have made a quite a number of desks. These are interesting projects because they are quite personal and intimate to the user. Recently I designed a desk for a trader who needed to accommodate three monitors for her trading station. We can up with a fantastic solution that worked with in her budget. Desks can also integrate into whole office solutions. I have done several projects that have included filing, storage, printer and media. It is always exciting when I can explore whole room environments with my clients and come up with something that is truly unique.
You’re a regular at big shows in New York City. What’s changed in terms of your ability to show Black Creek Designs furniture in-person beyond your shop downtown?
Understandably the shows have been postponed until next year. I was scheduled to exhibit the Architectural Digest Design Show in New York City as well as the Smithsonian show in Washington, D.C. Hopefully both will continue as scheduled in 2021 and I am look forwarding to exhibiting at each of them. In the meantime, my website has been a great resource for people to see my furniture, I also participate on Instagram and Facebook. The best way is to see the furniture is in person so as to get the true feeling of a piece and view it from all angles. I welcome people to visit the shop by appointment and see the pieces first hand. It is also great opportunity to see where and how the furniture is made. This of course is all done with the proper health and safety guidelines.
What is your message to Black Creek Designs clients and customers, and the wider community?
Stay safe and heathy! If there is anything positive that can come from our current situation I hope it is a greater feeling of community and family as well as appreciating our home life and all the things that fill your lives with happiness.