As far back as he can remember, Harry Stuart has enjoyed making toys for kids, a hobby which has expanded to include patio tables and potato bins as well as a number of other creative endeavours.
However, for many years he didn’t have time to indulge in his passion, as he was busy following a career path that took him in many different directions.
He worked for some time in print and broadcasting media, and also did a stint in the oilfield and spent some time working for a cabinetmaker.
Unfortunately, a serious injury he obtained in the oil field laid him up for some time.
He and his wife Linda and their family moved to Rimbey 28 years ago and he opened a sharpening shop here.
Running a small business in a small community proved lucrative and satisfying for Stuart, and he and his wife decided to set down roots here and make Rimbey their home.
However, Stuart suffered a heart attack in 2005, and subsequently was unable to continue with his business.
But, as so often happens, when fate intervenes and one door closes, another one opens, and for Stuart it seemed the door that opened led him right back to his passion for woodworking.
He opened STU-ART Productions in 2005 and never looked back.
“I don’t want to do anything else,” he admitted. “I love it.”
In some ways, it seems the humble little shop could be compared to Santa’s workshop. Shelves of little toy cars and trucks, some painted, some left plain adorn one side of the shop.
A stack of wooden tables, which apparently are good for sitting on as well, (if you are less than 300 pounds), are stacked somewhere in the vicinity of the middle of the shop.
Vegetable bins and picture frames and even wooden cremation urns for the remains of beloved pets are scattered throughout the shop.
Stuart seems very much at home out here in his little shop, among the tools and the products, some not quite finished and some in a pile of “someday” jobs. He said he spends most of the day in the shop, coming out again after supper for a few hours.
He has lots of orders on the go, and admits he is behind on some, but adds he will be sure and get orders to his customers on time and before Christmas if requested.
Owning a small business means helping out neighbors and friends, many of whom are also operating small businesses.
Stuart tries to shop locally for much of his wood and often works with Jackie Stratton from Scratchin’ the Surface for engraving on many of his products.
He also donates hand made products to local organizations.
Stuart and his wife Linda have three children, Wade, Trinity and Cali and three grandchildren.
Living and working in Rimbey for almost three decades has been a great experience, he said.
“It’s been a good run, good fun. I’m not going to get rich with my business, but I’ve met a lot of great people and I laugh a lot. A lot of people can’t do that.”