When the late Arnold Collier opened his custom cabinet and countertop shop in 1980, his son Tony was right by his side.
40 years later, Tony still runs the place with the help of his cousin, Jamie Branham.
“Dad was a carpenter,” Tony said during a recent bout of bad health which temporarily forced him out of his own woodshop, adding his father constructed many homes and buildings, including The Shangri La on Main Street in Grayson, a motel and restaurant he owned and operated with Tony’s mother, Geraldine, for many years.
“I just kind of started with him when he opened the shop,” Tony said. “I started woodwork when I was a kid with hobby tools. I made candleholders and stuff like that.”
Cabinets and countertops, as well as installation, were the first products and services offered at Collier Woodcraft, and remain their primary business to this day.
“The business did good from the start,” Tony said, later adding the small business has “been blessed” with work throughout the summer and fall of 2020.
Collier does not hesitate to praise his daily co-worker and cousin, Jamie Branham, who reported for work at Collier Woodcraft after working at the now closed Farmer’s Hardware.
“He said ‘If you need help, holler at me.’ I needed help, so I hollered at him,” Tony said with a chuckle and a cough.
“”He’s great and I ain’t letting him go.”
While he may not technically qualify as a “third generation” of the Collier family, Tony said Branham “is close enough.” Together, they tackle daily jobs ranging from homes under construction or renovation to the counters and cabinets at the new Grayson Sports Park.
“We work mostly in homes,” Tony said, with the majority of the work “all custom built from scratch.” The shop also offers manufactured cabinetry produced by Kraftmaid, Kitchen Kompact, Vision and Fabuwood.
Collier, a member of the East Carter High School Class of 1975, is also a private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee and a “powered parachute,” as well as a musician and instrument maker who has built guitars, fiddles, dulcimers, banjos and a mandolin.
“I probably enjoyed building banjos the most,” he said, citing the banjo as his own favorite instrument to play.
Contact Collier Woodcraft by telephone at 606.316.1634 or 606.475.0575
Story and Photos by TIM PRESTON