People who say ‘they don’t make things like they used to’ should visit MBC Woodshop in Westover.
Ronald Canady was raised on a farm in Ravenswood with plans of becoming a veterinarian after heading to the “big city” of Morgantown for college in the 1960s. Trees changed his path. A few large ones fell on the farm, and Canady, helping his dad deal with the leftover logs, began making slabs out of the trunks, long before “live edge” furniture was in fashion. “I started making stuff and realized I had an interest in woodworking,” he says. “I also seemed to be pretty good at it.”
He headed to Morgantown as planned, still convinced his future was in animal science. But he learned even more about working with wood in the university’s wood shop. “The guys there let me in and turned me loose. I learned how to do all kinds of stuff.” He took his newfound knowledge and his hard-won, farm-raised know-how into business, opening MBC Woodshop in 1974. Business partners came and went, and longtime employees helped to shape a business that grew exponentially by word of mouth alone.
Canady has made more than a few hand-crafted wooden bars that you’ll still find in some of the most popular drinking spots in town. He worked in new, high-end home finishing for a time, and he still does work for the university building lockers, lecterns, furniture, and anything else they dream up. He’s the man to see if you own a 100-plus-year-old home in South Park that features unique trim or molding—the shop has dozens of historical patterns on hand. And you can commission the team to make magnificent wooden furniture that will probably outlast us all.
The business has stood the test of time, and its sights are set on the future. Amon Canady, the founder’s only son, joined the family business full-time in 2017. He’d been around the place his entire life and has vivid memories of big projects and colorful customers. The elder Canady gave his son the freedom to find his own path without the expectation that he would ever join MBC, but he chose to anyway. He works in the office and in the shop, absorbing everything around him in preparation to fully take over one day.
“My dad will probably be around here forever. He’s still our fearless leader and, with 48-plus years of knowledge, I know he can answer any question we’ll ever have,” Amon Canady says. “We’ll remain flexible and adaptable just like he’s always been and, with any luck, we’ll still be here 48 years from now.”