The Ultimate Team of Makers
If you’ve spent time doing just about anything at Turning Stone Resort Casino, you likely have interacted with handiwork from our stellar carpentry department.
The team of 12 individuals fabricate items that include gaming tables, chairs, hotel furniture, and desks.
They are the ones in charge of modifying our blackjack tables to accommodate the new Blazing 7’s progressive jackpot. They’re working on furniture for a refresh to the bingo hall. They were responsible for the beautiful new wooden bar in the lounge at The Lodge at Turning Stone. They even created the tables and housing substructures for our annual Gingerbread Village (see story below).
“There’s not much we don’t make,” explained carpenter Don Willson. “We all take our jobs seriously, and we all take great pride in creating original pieces and materials for all of the properties in the Oneida Nation Enterprises.”
Don certainly knows a lot about the setup around here; the certified cabinet maker has been creating material for the Oneida Nation for nearly 16 years.
About 10 years ago, the Oneida Indian Nation decided to bring its woodworking needs in-house. The department grew slowly. Today it comprises of a dozen carpenters, as well as an upholstery team of five people who focus exclusively on upholstering (as you can imagine, with hundreds of chairs and dozens of table railings on the casino floor, this is a ton of work).
As Don explains it, carpenters usually work individually or in teams of two, leaning on each other for inspiration and best practices. By managing projects in house, the teams can respond to needs quickly and keep costs down.
Depending on the project load, team members may be managing several different projects at once. Don, for instance, spent early January working on renovation projects and a new desk for the bingo hall.
“Never a dull moment around here, that’s for sure,” he said.
Each carpenter has their favorite pieces. For Don, the bar in The Lodge Lounge was a career highlight that took six weeks to complete. Don also said he is proud of a conference table he made in the early part of the Covid-19 pandemic. Other carpenters cited different pieces as points of pride—the custom pieces are everywhere.
Looking forward, the carpentry team will play a big role in renovations to the rooms at The Lodge at Turning Stone, as well as ongoing improvements to the 7 Kitchens buffet. Next time you’re on site, be sure to save time to marvel at their work.