DAVID Cross runs an artisan handcrafted furniture business in Great Sankey – Meraki Woodcraft Ltd.

He has spent the last 30 years working in the timber flooring industry but during Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns he decided to give it all up and change direction.

Here, in our latest Trader of the Week feature, David tells us where the inspiration came from for his growing business and how he hopes to take on new staff with a talent for the trade.

If you would like to be featured as our Trader of the Week or Business of the Week, email heidi.summerfield@newsquest.co.uk

David Cross owner of Meraki Woodcraft

David Cross owner of Meraki Woodcraft

What’s the name of the business?

Meraki Woodcraft Ltd

What’s the address?

Unit 7 Gatewarth Industrial Estate, Gt Sankey, Warrington, WA5 1DD

Are you the owner/manager?

I’m the owner of the business.

When did you open the business?

I opened in September 2021.

Are you local to the area? Did you grow up here?

Yes, I grew up in Great Sankey and went to Penketh High School.

David opened the business 18 months ago

David opened the business 18 months ago

Tell me a bit about your business

Meraki Woodcraft is an artisan business handcrafting design-led dining furniture from reclaimed and sustainable timbers. Our main aim is to produce great pieces of furniture which are innovative and different, based upon the surface textures and colour tones as well as offer exceptional levels of customer service.

What do you do? What services do you provide?

Unlike mainstream retailers, Meraki Woodcraft has developed a system which enables clients to have creative input in their own pieces of furniture. Clients can choose from a series of key features enabling them to design their own dining furniture. The system is simple. They can choose a size that will work in the space – we can make then custom sized as well – and then select from a range of different leg styles. The surface textures have all been developed to meet with desired interior styles whether that’s elegant, contemporary, rustic or country feel and then the colour tones come in dozens of variations.


Wood you believe it? 100 years’ experience in the trade

Why did you decide to open your own business?

The Covid-19 pandemic made people rethink their lifestyles and for me it was no different. At the time, I was responsible for a sizeable operation which could be challenging and when the pandemic arrived, I felt a strong desire to step back, re-think, simplify and replan the future.

What’s your business background?

I’d been in the timber flooring industry for nearly 30 years, travelling internationally sourcing and working with production partners to craft high end timber floors for notable interior designers, famous people and even royalty. A large part of my background was creating and developing surface textures, tonal options and format choices for the timber flooring market, which also included heading up an international brand, a warehousing operation, and a production facility.

Why this type of business?

It would have been easier to remain in the bespoke flooring business but I felt a sense of loyalty to my previous employer, so made the choice that I’d take the creative and operational skills I had learned in the timber flooring industry and apply them to making outstanding dining room furniture.

David worked in the timber flooring industry for nearly 30 years before opening his own business

David worked in the timber flooring industry for nearly 30 years before opening his own business

What makes your business different to others in the same area/field? What sets your business apart from your competitors?

From the outset, a decision was made not to drive the business from a financial perspective but from a series of values that are meaningful and hold the potential to be positively impactful on the people who interact with it. Sustainability is a big hitter for us and we listed it as our number one value. Not only do we endeavour to craft everything from either a reclaimed or sustainable source but also make them so well that they can be repurposed many times over. We even offer a buy back scheme whereby if a client in 10 years’ time decides to move or remodel their space and the dining table we crafted no longer works for them then we’ll buy it back and repurpose it so it can continue on its journey. Creativity is another key part of the business. There’s a shortage of places where homeowners can customise their own dining furniture without it being overly expensive. What Meraki Woodcraft has achieved is a system where clients can choose any table size, select from a series of leg styles, decide from a number surface textures before looking through dozens of tones that will work with their design scheme. All of this is available within a four to six week timescale together with a reasonable pricing structure. In terms of staff, we’re not there yet but eventually we want to work with and employ individuals who have not had the best start in life and need a helping hand. The goal is to teach self-reliance and help them become better versions of themselves through specific coaching and skill training. It would be great to build future partnerships with these individuals who can then use Meraki Woodcraft resources to repeat the process and build their own businesses.


The Penketh business shaping the town’s landscape and greener future

Why do loyal customers return to your business?

Customers come back to us because we do what we say were going to do, at the agreed price, to a high standard and in the agreed time frame. We look at our customers from their perspective and always communicate from start to finish.

What’s next? What do the next few months hold for you and your business?

We’re in the process of consolidating the setup so we can grow and scale Meraki into a stronger business enterprise that can continue to serve its clients in the best way possible.

We currently have an ecommerce website being built which will enable clients to use the creative attribute system mentioned above to design their own dining tables. We offer open days at our workshop where people can come and look at the pieces we build, both finished and works in process. However, we want to raise standards and build a design studio where clients can visit and have a coffee while selecting their furniture in a leisurely way.

Meraki Woodcraft will be expanding in the future and taking on new employees in need of a helping hand in life

Meraki Woodcraft will be expanding in the future and taking on new employees in need of a helping hand in life