CityWood plans renovation of Binghampton building

CityWood, LLC and owner Matthew Wrage have big plans for their newly acquired building at 583 Scott Street off Broad Avenue in Binghampton. The company recently received a $25,000 loan to completely renovate the 15,000-square-foot building, and work will be underway soon.
 
CityWood makes custom furniture from reclaimed wood.
 
“What we’re able to do is take a product that was destined for a landfill, a chipper, or to be firewood and mill it with our two saw blades into slabs, kiln dry it, and then make furniture out of it,” said Wrage. “It’s a nice recycle stream. We’re taking a product that would be thrown away and making something that is significantly useful and will last the next 100-plus years.”
 
Wrage’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to give up a great career in corporate America (he’s a former director of product development at Bryce Corp.) and start his own business in 2012. Today he creates one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture for national retailers and clients like Whole Foods. 
 
CityWood rents space from Robinson Tree Service and then utilizes its log supply, which is made up of trees from around the area. The company’s saws can handle logs measuring up to 52 feet in diameter and 24 feet long.
 
Wrage was able to purchase a building in Binghampton last year for $150,000, and he was recently approved for a $25,000 ICED loan from the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County (EDGE). He plans to use half of the building as a retail space and showroom.
 
“I’m hoping to alter the façade and make a nice storefront and a gallery, and it should start transitioning some traffic across the railroad tracks,” Wrage said. “We’re going to completely redo the façade, probably make some improvements to the concrete, make massive electrical upgrades to host all of our equipment, and we’re planning on building a giant showroom to display the pieces we build.”
 
Expect the bulk of the work to be completed over the next year.
 
“The ICED loan was what made a lot of that possible. It’s helping us do more upgrades than we would have been able to do,” said Wrage, who will also use a portion of the loan to retain two jobs and create four new positions. 
 
Long-term plans include possibly adding a coffee bar and a “fun zone” area to one half of the property.
 
“I’ve found that there are not nearly enough fun things to do in Memphis,” he said. “So a long-term goal is to have a big rock climbing wall, a mini ramp with a foam pit, multiple trampolines with foam pits, and whatever else we can think up.”

Read more articles by Michael Waddell.

Michael Waddell is a native Memphian who returned to Memphis several years ago after working for nearly a decade in San Diego and St. Petersburg, Fla., as a writer, editor and graphic designer. His work over the past few years has been featured in The Memphis Daily News, Memphis Bioworks Magazine, Memphis Crossroads, the New York Daily News and the New York Post. Contact Michael.
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