Thomas Russell had a successful career for many years in the insurance
industry, but soon became burned out. He was ready to do something
different with his life.
Russell's brother worked with an Austin company that provided wood
refurbishing services. Russell soon became intrigued by the idea of
restoring old wood products to its original natural beauty.
He did some research and discovered a franchise called Kitchen Tune-Up, a
company that sold wood refurbishing services and products. He bought into
the company in 1991. While working in the industry, Russell developed his
own unique wood refurbishing products. When the franchise contract expired
in 1999, he began an independent company under the name, Metro Woodcare
Before going independent, Russell visited with Carlos Amaya, business
opportunity specialist at the University of Central Oklahoma Small
Business Development Center. Amaya helped Russell develop a new business
plan and offered him direction on how to market his product.
"He came up with a new product for wood care, and we discussed channels
for distribution," Amaya said. "We also set up an ecommerce Web site where
he could distribute his products over the Internet. Today he is very
successful and a strong advocate of home-based business."
The whole theory behind Metro Woodcare Services is that wood comes from
trees, a living thing. Russell believes that just as you tend a live tree,
making sure it is nourished and sometimes pruned, you need to take care of
natural wood furnishings in your home or office. He says wood needs both
tending and nourishing to keep it in good condition and looking beautiful.
When wood is still part of the living tree, it gets moisture and
nourishment from the sap. Once it is cut, then that steady supply of
moisture is gone and it needs to be "fed" and replaced from time to time.
Russell takes neglected wood products and restores them to good health.
Metro Woodcare provides a refurbishing rather than refinishing process.
Instead of stripping and sanding, which can be messy and disruptive to
home and office, the process is to first thoroughly clean the soil and
grime with special products. The nicks and scratches are rubbed out. The
natural oil products then restore the proper moisture balance, and then it
is sealed and finished.[>
Russell finds a special joy in the restoration of antiques and older wood
products. For him, it provides an inner joy as well as a living. He said
he delights in watching a customer see what looks old and dingy restored
to pristine condition.