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Special deliveries

Wayne Morgan has capitalized on something people use every day: mailboxes. Morgan, who runs from his home in Tewksbury, Mass., doesn’t consider himself a woodworker, but is an artists’ representative who coordinates mailbox requests with custom woodworkers throughout the U.S.

Custom mailboxes are big sellers for Morgan Home Accents.

Morgan started the specialty mailbox business in 2003 as part of a craft business run by his wife, Diane. Painted mailboxes were offered as one item and now that line has expanded. The company offers a variety of custom mailboxes made of wood, galvanized steel and cast aluminum to clients throughout the U.S. Cedar and pine are the standard woods offered. Clients usually send a picture if they want something specific, like a replica of their house or vehicle, on the box.

Business has been excellent, says Morgan, who remembers a doctor in Louisiana who purchased a 4’ tall Victorian house mailbox and put it in his home because it was too nice to leave outside. Other unique project examples include a beer-keg mailbox partially made out of aluminum; a cannon mailbox to a customer in Gettysburg, Pa.; and a lobster-trap mailbox to a Maine resident, just to name a few. Also, the U.S. Postal Service’s ad agency once purchased a picture for a poster display.

These unique novelty mailboxes are approved by the USPS and sturdy enough to withstand all sorts of inclement weather. A wide variety of designs are offered in the shape of animals, vehicles and buildings. The significant thing about custom mailboxes, according to Morgan, is that they provide a wealth of opportunities for homeowners to make a statement about themselves.

This castle mailbox, created by a woodworker in Arkansas, features a working drawbridge.

“I’ve sold many specialty wooden mailboxes to real estate brokers because it’s the perfect closing gift. It announces to the neighborhood you are there and what you’re about. A fire engine tells neighbors you’re a fireman; the shape of a dachshund lets people know you like dogs,” he says.

Morgan once helped a construction company bypass a zoning rule banning signs on residential properties with a bulldozer-shaped mailbox. Naturally, there are practical design concerns, says Morgan, who occasionally has to turn down a request for something that doesn’t look like a mailbox, such as a Corvette design.

Morgan currently works on a regular basis with about seven woodworkers from across the country. He found some woodworkers by searching for novelty mailbox producers and telling them about the prominent Google placement of his Web-based craft business. This has encouraged craftsmen to work with him as subcontractors and he now receives calls from people interested in work. The artists take a percentage of the sale price.

Contact: Morgan Home Accents, 341 River Road, Tewksbury, MA 01876. Tel: 888-321-8802.

This article originally appeared in the July 2011 issue.

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