Scott County

He built his wife a table to show his love, and a business was born

When Nick Arlinghaus tells the story about the table he built for his wife, it goes something like this: She wanted a table; I made her a table.

When Jessica Arlinghaus tells the story, it’s like this: It really means a lot to me because he loves me enough to make me something I’d love, something we can keep forever.

Either way, the couple, married nine years, agree: Jessica Arlinghaus had a vision for a table, and Nick Arlinghaus, a civil engineer with no formal training in woodwork, built it.

And both agree that the act was the foundation of a burgeoning business, Lakeside Woodworks, which Nick Arlinghaus co-founded with Ryan Corrigan.

And in just 18 months the business, which specializes in using reclaimed wood, has pulled in enough business to allow Nick Arlinghaus to leave his job as an associate engineer at the University of Kentucky to work full-time in Georgetown in his mammoth two-story backyard workshop — which he, of course, also built.

Corrigan, a master carpenter at UK, creates pieces for Lakeside Woodworks out of an equally big shop on a farm owned by his family in Sadieville.

The two became friends at work, go to the same church and have young kids about the same age. Corrigan gave Nick Arlinghaus some pointers on that first table, and the partnership “has just blossomed” along with the business, Corrigan said. Each partner has operated businesses before, but Corrigan said social media is making all the difference.

“It has really gotten the word out and put a lot of our work in front of people who wouldn’t otherwise see it,” he said. Facebook and Pinterest have been especially helpful, he said.

Lori Saunders encountered Lakeside Woodworks the old fashioned way: in a shop.

“I was in Margie Rigney’s shop, High South Art House. She showcases local artisans in the community. I saw a beautiful piece of woodwork and asked if she knew where I could get furniture made by someone local. She gave me the information for Lakeside Woodworks,” said Saunders, executive director of the Georgetown-Scott County Tourism Commission.

The find was a perfect fit for Saunders’ office.

“I knew we wanted to use materials that showcased our area for the tourism office,” she said. “Georgetown is the disputed birthplace of bourbon. Elijah Craig distilled the first batch of bourbon in Royal Spring Park. So I wanted to use a bourbon barrel. We got one from David Adams, a local distiller, and the Kentucky Horse Park donated plank fencing.” Nick Arlinghaus handpicked the planking.

“We couldn’t be more impressed with the craftsmanship,” she said.

Lakeside Woodworks also is making conference tables from Horse Park planking and an end table from planking from Old Friends Retired Thoroughbred Farm in Scott County. Those pieces also go go into the tourism office.

“It’s great to take a product that had a purpose and redefine it into something new,” Arlinghaus said.

The bourbon-barrel tables are especially popular. Lakeside has sold eight in the past five weeks, and orders keep coming in. Each table looks similar, but each is unique because of the characteristics of the wood Corrigan said.

For Arlinghaus, whose wife describes him as a big dreamer, coming up with a concept and then working out a way to create it in wood is his greatest joy. He especially likes making tables because, he said, the family table was important when he was growing up.

“We always ate dinner around the table,” he said.

The creative outlet of the business allows is addicting, Corrigan said. “I get lost in the work and it doesn’t feel like work,” he said. All of a sudden, “It will be dark and I think, ‘I’d better go home; I have a family and other things I need to do.’”

Being able to work near his family is a big plus for Nick Arlinghaus.

“I can go home for lunch, the kids can down here and help.” His two sons have mini tools on a low shelf in the workshop.

The goal is that Corrigan can soon have that same flexibility and work full-time for Lakeside Woodworks.

For now, Arlinghaus can take a short walk each evening for dinner with his family at that first table he made for his wife.