KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Dominick Fusco of Kalamazoo may be deaf, be he is bringing new life to old wood.
Fusco has transformed a hobby into a thriving business. He started Bearwood Reclaimed five years ago and works out of his garage.
“I decided to focus on old things, not new products, old pieces of furniture, reclaimed furniture," says Fusco. "I’ve been able to find a lot of old pieces that are broken, something needs to be replaced on it. The piece itself is relatively good. It just needs a little TLC."
“I picked the word "reclaimed" because I wanted to collect the things that we are seeing in the community that people didn’t have any use for anymore. They just toss them and threw them out. And there’s no point for them to be sit in the landfill when they could be fixed up or changed into something else.”
Fusco may not be able to hear the buzz saw he uses, but he can feel the vibrations it makes. “I’m very sensitive. I'm high visual. I pay attention with my eyes or what I'm feeling going on around me.”
He loves what he does, and people in the community love what he creates. Business is booming, and he hopes to expand one day.
“My dream would be to grow the wood shop and to have a store front so that people could come and purchase something and to hire some other deaf people to work with me. There are a lot of deaf people who don’t have jobs, who struggle finding employment because it’s difficult to get hired because of the disability label.”
He may not be able to hear, but Dominick’s keen sense for developing a business is an inspiration for others like him.
“Deaf people can do anything. You can’t hear, that’s okay, no problem. Let’s just keep going with what your dream is.”
Dominick Fusco says he enjoys going to shows where he can exhibit his reclaimed pieces.
He’ll be at the Kalamazoo fairgrounds for Mother’s Day next month and is thinking about entering ArtPrize.