HELENA – If you live in or around Helena, you’ve probably seen some of the work of Appleton Furniture.
They’ve been a part of the community for decades. One of their showrooms lays street side in a picturesque Victorian mansion on Helena’s west side.
Cheryl Boid, owner and manager at Appleton, operates the business along with her husband, Tom Woodall, who crafts the furniture.
“We purchased the house in 1990 and it happened to be an Appleton house built by George Appleton,” Boid said.
Boid took inspiration from George Appleton, the 19th-century architect who built a number of homes around Helena. The couple also took inspiration from the fruit and began naming their collections of furniture after apples.
“We have the Macintosh apple – that’s our arts and crafts line. Fuji is our Asian line. We’ve got a Newton style that’s kind of our modern farmhouse line,” Boid said.
Originally, when the couple bought the mansion in 1990, the focus wasn’t on furniture.
“We opened the bed and breakfast here in 1995, and then we ran a furniture company out of the back garage area,” Boid said.
Meanwhile, Tom Woodall fostered an interest in building at a young age.
“I’ve always had an interest in making furniture my entire life,” Woodall said.
The craftsman started as a home builder and branched out into repairing furniture.
“With a name Woodall, that kind of shows there was some inclination there,” Woodall said. “I could see what worked and what didn’t and how they used to make furniture a hundred years ago and tried to emulate that as much as I could.”
Over time, Woodall worked to perfect those skills.
“Sometimes I’m amazed myself with how far we’ve come from what we started with to where we are today and the quality of furniture we make today compared to the quality of furniture I made 30 years ago,” Woodall said.
Woodall first began crafting in a small green garage that still sits on the property next to the Appleton mansion. The company has come a long way since its modest beginnings. Today, Appleton Furniture comprises 18,000 square feet of showrooms and makes its products from all American wood.
“We’re building a new workshop to have more room. We’re pretty excited about that,” Woodall said.
Woodall also brought his son into the mix, truly making it a family business.
The business has grown consistently over the last couple decades with products shipped across the country. Woodall estimates the company has likely shipped products to all 50 states.
“I have to thank Helena for that because they supported us very well. We just kept putting our efforts back into it,” Woodall said.
When the couple is around town, they enjoy seeing their finished products in people’s homes.
“It’s always amazing to see it even five or ten years down the road and walk into someone’s house and say, ‘I just still love this piece so much.’ That makes us feel great,” Boid said.