“As I looked at those oak boards, I wondered if there might be a way to use them,” Johnson said. “Then I thought about the new Chick-fil-A and realized we could probably use some of that lumber for tables. I love to reuse older, still viable building materials, and we had a chance to connect the old with the new.”
The university chose Kochsmeier as the man for the job after he gained their confidence by previously building bookshelves for a vice president’s office and an end table for the human resources building.
“As you’re building this stuff, you start to wonder about who walked across these floors and what happened in earlier times,” Kochsmeier said. “I know it seems like a simple project, but there’s value in the stories behind the wood. To be entrusted with a project of this magnitude, this is a humbling thing. It gives me the chills to think about it.”
The lumber used in the new Chick-fil-A tables could have started as sapling well over 200 years ago, Kochsmeier estimated, as the Cedarville Hardware building was constructed over 120 years ago.
“It starts to open your eyes and your imagination,” Kochsmeier said. “People born and raised in Cedarville will be going to the Chick-fil-A, people in their 40s today who went to the hardware store with their mom or dad. Or people in their 80s who look at this wood as something that’s been around forever. It might remind them of friendships or a time when they took their grandkids to the store. When you start to think about it, it gets pretty overwhelming.”
Before Kochsmeier could mark the project as complete, he wanted to create something special for his friend, Linda Fawcett, Glenn Fawcett’s widow.
Kochsmeier used the same lumber to make a wooden plaque that reads “Bless this House.”
“This plaque represents a piece of the hardware store and a reminder of her husband,” Kochsmeier said. “That’s important.”