The 1970's, A New Era
1971 saw the business change hands. John Bell a native of Toronto,
former junior executive with a large corporation, and a draftsman
by trade acquired Pioneer Handcraft. An immediate change was the design
of a new logo, the logo that we still use. It was a time of transition
and growth until, in 1972, a fire burned the barn housed workshop
to the ground. John made the most of this devastating set back by
buying land at Severn Bridge, on the south bound side of Highway #11,
near the site of the original barn workshop.
This move marked a turning point in the history of Pioneer Handcraft.
John designed and built a new shop and showroom nestled in the virtually
perfect setting of Canadian Shield rocks and trees. It was no mistake
that it felt just like being at the cottage. Pioneer Handcraft was
open for the 1973 May 24th weekend complete with the history building
practice of burning the logo into the furniture. With a new location
on Highway #11, known to many as "Main Street Ontario" and
a new shop the business started to grow and expand. In 1978 a furniture
design of John's, a unique sofa bed, won the Trillium Award for Design.
This was a first for a small furniture company and a sign of things