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There when the dust settles

Similar to many custom shop owners, Ralph Harden's woodworking career had humble beginnings. He worked as an engineer during the day and as a part-time woodworker at night. It wasn't until he landed a restaurant job 28 years ago that he sent his engineering career packing and became owner of a full-time woodworking business. That was the birth of The Harden House, currently a 12-person high-end cabinet shop in Clearwater, Fla. From the start, it was a sole proprietorship with just two employees, Harden and his wife, until he decided to take a leap.

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"We decided to make the change to full time and see where it took us," recalls Harden. "Within a couple of months we hired our first employee and we still have him, as a matter of fact."

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