A Symbol of America’s Pride: Crafted By Those Who Know It’s Worth
by Emily Marcason-Tolmie
Pressure and pride. These words are the foundation of Anthony Guadagnino’s Capital District-based business Veteran Made Woodworks. “Creating the American flag from scratch, from pieces of wood into something amazing, is something we take immense pride in.” Guadagnino, a U.S. Marine veteran and current Operations NCO for Recruiting in the New York Army National Guard, says he thrives under pressure. He receives between 80 and 100 orders for flags a month. The increased volume of orders doesn’t distract him, rather it encourages him. “People are choosing us to make them a flag and we are honored by their confidence in us,” he said. “We are doing right by the flag and in turn right for our customers. We use only high quality wood and products. Our reputation is speaking for itself.”
Guadagnino is receiving orders from customers across the country. Recently, a chief in the United States Navy contacted him hoping to present a Veteran Made Woodworks’ flag at a change of command ceremony involving the famed Blue Angels. Veteran Made Woodworks has made flags that currently hang in United States’ Embassies. He has shipped flags to Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest. He has also made flags for more somber occasions, such as End of Watch ceremonies traditionally used to honor fallen law enforcement officers.
Veteran Made Woodworks is different from other woodworking business for two distinct reasons: patriotism and passion. “It means a lot to our customers that we are veterans, and still serving,” he said. “We construct our flags in the same way that we approach the military, with a high attention to detail. Guadagnino believes that the precise craftsmanship of each flag is all based on honor. “We are doing the flag justice,” he said. “We show it the proper respect because we live and bleed by that flag.” For example, when Guadagnino finishes a flag the edges of it are always smoothed and painted. “People notice the little things,” he said. “We are all about quality and affordable prices. There is no reason why customers can’t have both of these.”
Guadagnino has been dabbling in woodwork for years. When he was a boy he would go with his father, a general contractor, to work sites and learn by watching. He took his skills and refined them when he joined the military at age 18. “I’ve had one job since I was 18,” Guadagnino said. “I’ve served the military, working for the government, and it wears on you. I wanted to work for myself,” he said. He started his woodworking business two years ago after attending a Boots to Business seminar offered by the military. “I then spent a year after that class researching and deciding my best course of action. I wanted to go into this business with a plan,” he said. That plan has him now leading a team of five part-time people, each one from a different branch of the service or law enforcement, and each one contributing to the business in their own way. Two years ago he had no idea that the business would evolve to where it is today. “I’m in the trenches with my team,” he said. “I’m sweating with them. I’m cutting with them. I’m right there with them building,” he said. The business has evolved and gained speed quickly since its inception. Changes are on the horizon for Guadagnino. “Next year I can see myself running this business full-time,” he said.
Guadagnino attributes his business success to his military history: from infantryman to recruiter he has an arsenal of experiences that are a perfect match for entrepreneurship. The business is growing and he is enjoying every moment. “I work at least an hour before going to work every morning and between four to five hours every evening,” he said. “I am fortunate to work alongside a group of people that love this as much as I do. Really, at the end of it all, we are just a couple of friends making really cool stuff together.”
Customized engraving of flags is available upon request. There are flags available in stock on the website, but each order is treated with individual attention. The turnaround time on a custom flag order is currently at about 2 weeks or so. In addition to the flags, Veterans Made Woodworking make custom flag coin holders and some furniture.
Emily Marcason-Tolmie, a Saratoga native, is a writer, researcher, wife and mother. Emily and her husband, Ryan, are the parents to two wonderful little boys, ages 4 and 1.
This article was written by Emily Marcason-Tolmie and was originally published at Saratoga Weekly.