Jacob and Sons
Valley Road Speeder Wagons has been in business at least 40 years, making beautiful hand-crafted wagons for children, adults, gardeners, farmers, and beach-goers. Jake started work there as an employee in 1989. Three years later, he bought the business.
In ten years’ time, he was selling 300% more wagons than before. Build it well, price it fairly, and they will come.
When asked what he likes most about his business, he says “Meeting all the nice people. I love meeting new dealers and making new friends.” He also quickly adds, “And me and my sons. I love working together with them.” Then, thinking of children in general, he chuckles and says, “And the kids. The kids coming in, how they light up! Sometimes parents come in thinking they won’t buy a trike that day, but the kid won’t get off of it!”
It’s not surprising Jacob enjoys children. He has nine of his own, and now five grandkids. His workshop is on his farmstead, so the younger children buzz in and out of the workshop throughout the day.
When I asked Jake what his favorite guilty pleasure was, he first said “Chicken Barbeque.” Then he asked tweener-aged son Melvin to answer for him. Melvin responded, “I don’t know…making us happy, I guess,” with a shy smile. What better testament could a father ask for? Jake stroked his beard thoughtfully about that question, and related a tale how they visited friends in coastal Maine, and the friends arranged a fantastic rate at a charming local hotel. He had stars in his eyes when he spoke of the gleaming pool, the beautiful rooms, and a five-minute walk to the ocean. His teenaged daughter piped up, “Yeah. Those four days went way too fast!”