How it all started
Heartwood’s story began some 20 years ago in the small, friendly town of Star, Mississippi, when two brothers began the odyssey that transformed them from builders of homes for people into builders of homes for birds. Roots run deep here in Star; Heartwood’s Jerry and Larry Glass are fourth-generation residents. It was Jerry who first took up the call of arts and crafts, designing and hand crafting cypress creations that he and wife Lynda sold at local crafts fairs. Mrs. Glass (that would be Larry and Jerry’s mother) suggested a new product when she pointed out the obvious: people love birds and bird houses. And so Heartwood was born, quickly growing large enough to require Larry’s talents on the team.
A really good start
Heartwood homes were popular from the start. Still, the company’s sales really took flight after a couple of friends urged the partners to show their wares at the annual International Gift and Home Furnishing Market, when tens of thousands of buyers and sellers convene at AmericasMart in Atlanta. The friends were so enthusiastic about Heartwood’s potential they offered to underwrite the costs of the trip. Jerry and Larry declined the offer, but the friends’ belief in Heartwood gave them to confidence to attend the show.
“Jerry and I would never have taken that step without their encouragement,” Larry says, still remembering how intimidated the brothers felt as they arrived with their products amidst the bustling multitudes. But the pair needn’t have worried about getting lost in the crowd. Heartwood homes stood out, and a line quickly formed to their booth. By the time they had returned home repeat orders were already coming in—Heartwood homes were selling fast, all over the nation.
More than birdhouses
Since then Heartwood’s love of cypress has led to expansions, as the product line grew to include cypress products like swings and Adirondack chairs, and as the company began selling cypress lumber. In 2010, Heartwood took up the cause of another winged creature—the honeybee—with the manufacture of wooden ware for bee keeping. In 2012, Heartwood became the exclusive manufacturer of The Original Freeman Beetle Trap.
Today, while Jerry has retired from the business and Larry is now the sole owner, Jerry continues to design all Heartwood homes. Designing these avian masterworks is his passion. And each home is still crafted by hand at Heartwood’s facility on Star’s Main Street, using the highest quality materials and with a staff that has grown to include a wider circle of family, friends and neighbors; suppliers, like Heartwood’s expert coppersmith, are also local.
An American success story
Heartwood is an American story, an American success, from the ground up. That includes down-to-earth values like caring and encouragement for others, as Larry and the Heartwood staff serve as enthusiastic mentors for aspiring artisans and crafts creators. The company that specializes in architecture for the birds understands that sometimes you need a little push in order to fly.