Gentle Giant prides itself on being able to move anything our customers ask us to, no matter the circumstance. Giant Tom Kiefer has built a career out of building any and every type of custom crate for items that need a bit of extra cushion.
Tom’s wooden masterpieces come out of his workshop in Gentle Giant’s Wilmington, MA warehouse. Tom fills orders as they come in, often times under extreme deadlines. He estimates that he builds around 2,000 in a year, sometimes sending out over 50 in one day!
Keeping with Gentle Giant’s Green Initiatives, everything Tom makes is reusable. Some crates have gone out nearly a dozen times without being reconfigured.
“I have nearly 4,000 pieces in stock,” Tom explains. “For a new order, I look for a complete crate first. Then, I get all the pieces I can from my library and make what I don’t have. The nature of crating has changed. I rarely make a crate from start to finish these days, and that’s a good thing because with the volume of last minute orders, I can cut down on the time to fill orders.”
Gentle Giant customers can rest easy knowing that whatever precious pieces they have will be safe from harm because of Tom’s custom crating expertise. Through his illustrious career, he has built some wildly inventive and innovative crates that instantly put nervous customers at ease. For example, a extremely valuable collection of glass figurines was kept safe in a crate Tom built. It had individual compartments for each figurine.
“I made a crate for a toaster once because I didn’t want it going in the same crate as a high value grandfather clock.”
When asked about some of the more expensive pieces he built a crate for, Tom told us about an $850,000 Korean folding screen. After sitting safely and securely in Gentle Giant’s climate-controlled storage for a year, the customer came by, took it out of the crate, tossed it in the trunk of his car and left. Always the consummate professional, Tom smiled and made a nice tool chest from the lavish crate.
This summer, Tom will fill his 10,000th order. Congrats, Tom, from your Gentle Giant family!