Providence’s Edge and End Studio Builds Furniture and Connections

A new owner continues mission of creating opportunities for adults with disabilities

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Aaron Guttin has always loved building things. He first got a taste for woodworking as a kid at overnight camp where he built a wooden toolbox, which his mother still has today. Ever since, he has been immersed in the craft, working professionally as a general contractor, designer, shipwright, luthier, cabinet maker, and furniture builder.

In June, Guttin took over as owner and president of Edge and End, an artisan furniture company based in Providence, which also has a strong partnership with The Groden Network at The Cove Center, a nonprofit that provides job experience and skills for adults with special needs that happens to be right next door. “I was working for Edge and End and fell in love with the work and the population we serve,” says Guttin. “I read a statistic that said disabled adults had a 97 percent unemployment rate. I can’t think of a better way to spend a career than building meaningful products while helping to bring that statistic down.” 

The idea for this training partnership was conceived of back in 2008, by previous Edge and End owner, David Ellison, who saw an opportunity with residents from The Cove Center, who would walk by the workspace and express an interest in what was happening inside. Guttin credits Ellison as being an amazing mentor and friend. “When the opportunity came to take over the business, I was blessed that things worked out the way they did,” says Guttin. 

Located in a historic Dyerville Mill on the banks of Woonasquatucket River, the 6,000-square-foot workspace is outfitted with original beams, iron work, skylights, high ceilings and windows that let in lots of natural light. “I love history, and to work in a former textile mill that was part of the rich New England industrial landscape makes it all that much better,” Guttin shares. “In some ways, I feel like we carry on the legacy of various craftsmen over the last 180 years.” 

Quality materials, such as solid woods in oak, walnut, ash, and pine, as well as wrought iron, steel, and cast iron are paramount in the company’s hand-crafted furniture and smallwares. All of the lumber is sustainably sourced and comes from three sawmills in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. “Our favorite is repurposing lumber from old Rhode Island factories and mills; the stories locked in that lumber keep my imagination going all day,” says Guttin. 

His goal is to always employ people with disabilities and to teach trade skills. The company currently offers two different training programs; one is a six-week course for adults and the other is 12 weeks with students from The Met High School in Providence. “Making things is a very human thing – after all, cavemen made art on walls and built tools every day,” says Guttin. “I think helping each other is just as human. Combining the two brings me a huge amount of personal joy, but more importantly allows us to create products that really matter.” 

 

Edge and End   • 610 Manton Avenue, Providence

 

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