I think we all have a story of that exceptional teacher who helped us find our passion—or at least to love a subject that might have otherwise been a bore. 19 year-old Kleinton Saunders took woodworking by chance in grade 11, and now he’s running his own business, Kleinton’s Woodworking, with the Summer Company Program, funded by the Province of Ontario.

Woodworking is the perfect challenge for this self-proclaimed perfectionist (and it’s true—his work is meticulous). In grade 12, he took three woodworking classes so he could spend most of his day in the shop. Now, he’s enrolled in a Cabinet Making Program in London and spending as much time as possible in the shop. Kleinton makes cutting boards, coasters, serving trays, toothbrush holders, candle holders, and more with awesome designs and exotic woods. “I like woodworking because I’m very detail oriented and I notice imperfections really well. I always make sure it’s perfect,” he says. Customers certainly notice; the response from the community has been awesome, and it reinforces to Kleinton that he’s doing something meaningful that he loves. “I like hearing compliments from customers,” he says; “it makes me feel like I’ve achieved something.”

When asked about the Summer Company Program, Kleinton said he heard about it when the Small Business Centre made a presentation to the Goderich Youth Committee back in the spring: “I wouldn’t be running this business if it weren’t for the program, and I wouldn’t know what to do. Life’s good now.”

Kleinton was lucky to have a great teacher who challenged him in high school. Working on challenging projects is one of his favourite aspects of being an entrepreneur. “I’m working on frames for sunglasses right now,” he said. “They’re challenging.” I have no doubt he’ll complete them perfectly. Kleinton’s a fast learner. His grandpa taught him some woodworking techniques and has supported him in lend

ing tools and workspace. The woodworking almost seems easy to him. He did admit to being surprised about a few things over the course of the program, though. “I made headphone holders at the beginning of the summer” he said, but they were too time-consuming to

make so he gave them the axe—a smart business decision. He also thought the shot glass holders would have been more popular with customers, but it was the live-edge cutting boards and the weave cutting boards that were most popular this year.

Kleinton sells his wood items at the Goderich Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings, and has recently joined the Exeter Farmer’s Market on Thursday afternoons. He even has plans to build his business so he can continue on after the Summer Company Program is over. Starting in the fall, Kleinton will also have his products available at artisan stores around Huron County. You can see his work on Facebook, or to place an order, you can call (519) 955-0976 or email kleintonsaunders@gmail.com.