He fervently believes that hard work coupled with a yearning to be self-sufficient will allow the U.S. workforce to right itself. “The early settlers came to Virginia with the full knowledge that they would work incredibly hard every day and would face unknown challenges,” he began. “But using the resources of the land and their intellect, they were freed from oppression and controlled their own destiny. It took innovation and vision, but they created products to be traded with England, and eventually the world. That was their currency—and it was only limited by their desire to succeed.”
Thomas A. Johnson is the Modern Settler. While establishing and growing a thriving custom furniture business he nurtured an idea to launch a school to train under-employed adults and youth in the business of fine woodworking to become independent businessmen and women. Johnson believes that by returning to the principles of our forefathers—the original entrepreneurs—we can not only reclaim jobs that have been sent overseas, but we can foster and create self-sufficient “job creators.” He explains, “Job creators are important as they are the fabric of the economic model. The concept of Mayflower Landing is to train under-employed adults and youth in the business of fine woodworking to become independent businessmen and women.” It is vital to help individuals develop and embrace a skill, but also to foster the outlets to continue a capitalism-based employment environment. These job creators will be taught the artistry of furniture design, skill of woodworking, entrepreneurship and business principles, and will be given the opportunity to market their output through an established retail channel (James River Furnishings) or through their own business channels.
2301 Mayflower Drive, Lynchburg, Virginia
Mayflower Landing is a former lumber yard located on a 35-acre site with easy access to commercial truck routes and rail transportation. The site has loading docks, a retention pond for site water management, and plenty of parking.
The property is ripe for re-development—and the complex location and attributes help to fulfill the three precepts of the Thomas A. Johnson Woodworking School: human resource development, natural resource optimization and global marketing and distribution of finished goods.
Artist Sketch of Future Mayflower Landing Development
1. Avenue of Oaks
2-3. Woodworking Discovery Center (Welcome Center, Museum Workshops, Exhibit Hall)
4. Staff Parking
5. Student/Visitor Parking
7. Meditation Garden
9. Student Housing
11-14. Thomas A. Johnson School of American Woodworking
15. Student Lumber Processing Center
16. Thomas A. Johnson Furniture Co.
17. Woodworking Business Incubator
19. Retention Pond
20. Lumber Harvesting Area
21. Future Expansion
22. Thomas A. Johnson Furniture
Co. Lumber Processing Center