Ferrell rebuilds, plans to continue crafts
By Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]
Charlie and Gail Ferrell first made and sold crafts 30 years ago. After several years, they opted out, then picked up their hobby again after Charlie, owner of Charlie’s Carpet Barn, retired in 2018.
This time around, the couple focused on making hand-lettered alphabet blocks, spelling out names or phrases in a crossword-style configuration. The signs proved popular and allowed the Ferrells to raise funds to donate to a cause close to their hearts: ministries for the homeless.
On Nov. 8, Charlie was in his workshop in the barn lettering blocks. It was 19 degrees that morning, so he turned on the baseboard heaters for the first time of the season.
After a few minutes, Charlie looked over and saw flames in a corner.
“I ran to get a fire extinguisher,” he said. “By the time I got to the room, it was filled with black smoke. I couldn’t go in.”
He managed to get his carpet cleaning truck out of the building, located near Milltown along Speed Road, but not much else. The barn and its contents, including craft items stockpiled for four shows, were destroyed.
It took six weeks before the investigation into the blaze was closed and the fire determined to be accidental in nature. About a week later, the Ferrells received a check for the loss.
The original structure, built in 1947, had been added onto several times. Charlie wanted the new structure to be built on the same footprint (actually four in total), which posed more of a challenge.
He chose Sam Miller, owner of Your Way Construction, for the job. Miller had trained under an Amish carpenter, Willie Lambright, whose work impressed Charlie.
Miller started construction in December, completing the new structure in about six weeks.
“I’m really pleased with the job they did,” said Charlie. “You don’t find many young men of that age who can manage a construction job of that size. He has a good business head on his shoulders.”
Charlie said he wanted to rebuild because he and his wife plan to continue their craft work.
The Ferrells decided to take 2020 off, especially given the issues with COVID-19. When they receive the settlement for the building’s contents, Charlie will have to purchase new woodworking tools and supplies before he can start crafting letter blocks again.
“We still hope to keep doing crafts and working with the homeless ministries,” he said.
The couple donated $1,300 each to Exit 0 and the Macy House after selling the wooden block signs at Tractor Supply Co. during the 2018 Christmas season.
“I believe as things unfold and the timing is right, you get back to doing what you need to do,” Charlie said. “We’re just trying to live by faith.”