Sep 20, 2023

In the Spotlight


JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – John Grant carved out a new plan for his life in May 2021.

Searching for a hobby, Grant said, he quit drinking and took up woodworking.

When he lost his job with a manufacturing company in Tyrone in December, the timing seemed right.

"I always had an interest in music," he said. "I wanted to do something with woodworking and music."

He connected with crafters online and learned the art of woodworking.

What began as a hobby is now a business.

Grant is owner of Lynward Woodworks, 132 Norton Road, Lower Yoder Township. The name of the business is a combination of his and his wife's middle names.

Grant builds vintage Hi-Fi cabinets, wood cases for vinyl records and audio equipment, and turntable plinths. He sells the items online, filling a niche in the music market.

Vinyl records are returning in popularity, along with stereos and turn- tables.

"You have a very large vintage Hi-Fi community," Grant said. "It goes hand in hand with what I’m doing."

Grant's story is one of ingenuity and vision.

During the pandemic, Grant said, he gathered his free weights, or dumbbells, that were lying around the house and sold them online, along with other free weights bought from local stores.

"The gyms were closed down and people were buying free weights for their house," he said. "It helped us put some money together in eight months.

"I took some of the money from selling weights and things and started buying woodworking equipment, a table saw, a planer, this and that," he said.

With little knowledge of the craft, Grant connected with a community of woodworkers on Instagram and watched videos.

Grant began crafting what he called enclosures for turntables.

"You can take a more modern turntable, put it in a box and make it vintage," he said.

Grant said the number of requests for turntable plinths and cabinets for stereo receivers increased.

"It wasn't and hasn't been easy," he said. "It has been a lot of trial and error."

"I was busy doing it out of my basement.

"I decided because of the popularity of the stuff, it was time to go into it full-time," Grant said.

Grant moved the business from his home into a former EJ Weiss Co. building in March.

He credits Johnstown Area Regional Industries (JARI) and Intrignia Inc. with helping him devise a business plan, secure a $36,000 microloan and find a building.

Blake Fleegle, entrepreneurial coach for JARI, believes Grant will be successful.

"One of the things that shines through is he found a niche," Fleegle said. "He had customers. He decided to take the next step and launch his business full-time."

Mike Artim, president of Intrignia and former president and CEO of the then-Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Chamber of Commerce, said Grant is working hard at his craft.

"He put the effort in and he was very passionate about his business," Artim said. "That's the kind of entrepreneur we want to promote and work with."

Grant said he has online customers as far away as Hawaii and Canada and has 12,000 Instagram followers. He can be reached at [email protected].

His hope for success is high.

"My goal is to be one of the only companies in the U.S. that offers these products in stock and ready to ship," Grant said.

Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5061. Follow him on Twitter @PatBuchnowskiTD.

Tucked into a small office at Cambria Elementary School, students write, edit and record – finding spare moments to prepare both a weekly newscast and a monthly newspaper.


Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5061. Follow him on Twitter @PatBuchnowskiTD.

Johnstown Magazine is a positive and forward-thinking monthly publication for the people of our region.

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