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Customer In Residence Program
Named "Best Working Vacation" by the editors of
Down East Magazine
2010 Best of Maine
Our Customer in Residence (CIR) program officially launched in September of 2007 when five long-time Moser customers spent a week with us here at our shop in Maine building furniture and staying in Freeport’s historic Harraseeket Inn. What started as an experiment has blossomed into a full-fledged program that, much to our amazement, has attracted interest from all over the globe. Below you will find a general overview and FAQ about the program. If you have additional questions that we haven't covered here, please feel free to
Program dates for 2013 are listed below. Please note that dates may be changed/added based on session interest and shop capacity. Sessions tend to fill quickly, especially during the summer months, so please call as soon as possible to check on availability and reserve your spot.
2013 Program Dates:
Apr. 8-12, 2013
May 6-10, 2013
Jun. 3-7, 2013
Jul. 8-12, 2013
Aug. 12-16, 2013
Sep. 9-13, 2013
Oct. 7-11, 2013
Nov. 11-15, 2013
Space is extremely limited, so we encourage you to contact us right away to inquire about availability and/or register for a session. Please contact program coordinator (and manager of our flagship showroom in Freeport, Maine) Steve Wyman by calling
or by email at
In this short video taken at a
CIR Signing Ceremony
, Tom Moser talks about how the program came to be and the impact it has had on participants and cabinetmakers...
for more CIR videos
This program is a weeklong immersion into the workshop envrionment for our customers who want to experience the process of building Moser furniture for themselves. Each participant works side-by-side with a master cabinetmaker in our shop. This mentor will assist in the selection of raw materials and the crafting of a hallmark Moser piece. Among many things, the participant will learn about the intricacies of joinery, the shaping and molding of solid cherry, and even how to bring out the natural luster of wood with the right amount of wax and elbow grease. All customers-in-residence will share their workshop experiences on a daily basis, as well as take part in a trip to the local Grange Hall where we had our first shop, as well as several special group dinners. This is a rare experience for the novice or expert woodworker and may well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Participants will stay at the renowned
in Freeport and have dinner at some of the area's best restaurants with members of the Moser family and the company's management team. There will also be ample free time to explore
Thos. Moser flagship showroom
there, as well as to visit
and surrounding areas. The session will end with a
special signing ceremony
during which participants and their Thos. Moser partner will sign the piece they have built.
The cost to participate in the CIR program varies depending on the piece that each attendee chooses to build (see below in FAQ).
to download a PDF example of the official program itinerary. Please note that this is only an example, the final itinerary will vary from session to session.
CIR Participant Dawn Klingensmith wrote an article of her and her fiance's experience for the Chicago Tribune. To read her article
"The Thos. Moser Customer in Residence program is our company’s way of strengthening the very special bond that we have with our customers. For the many people who collect Thos. Moser furniture and value our workmanship, this program will give them the value-added experience of participating in the building of their own piece. Additionally, they will be able to enjoy Maine’s scenic beauty and culture, which is so essential to who we are as a company."
, principal furniture designer, son of company founder Tom Moser
The itinerary for the week-long CIR program varies slightly from session to session, but some of the highlights include:
- a visit to New Gloucester and the Grange Hall that housed Tom's first studio
- a tour of the Thos. Moser Auburn shop
- tool/equipment use and safety training
- "lunch and learn" presentations
- 30 hours of hands-on shop time to create a one-of-a kind piece based on Thos. Moser designs.
Below are some of the most
Frequently Asked Questions
about the Customer in Residence (CIR) program. If your question is not answered here, please call Steve Wyman at 800-708-9041 or
CLICK HERE to email Steve
. To download the FAQ as a PDF file, please
Q: What is the CIR program?
A: The CIR program is a weeklong immersion into the Thos. Moser workshop environment. It provides a unique opportunity for our most loyal customers to visit our shop and, under the direction of a seasoned cabinetmaker, make their own piece of furniture utilizing the same tools and woodworking techniques that our own craftspeople use on a daily basis. It is not a woodworking school, but participants will have the opportunity to learn many of the skills practiced by our cabinetmakers on a daily basis.
Each person will stay at the historic Harraseeket Inn in downtown Freeport. From there, each participant will travel to our workshop daily to work side by side with a master cabinetmaker. This mentor will assist in the crafting of a hallmark Moser piece. All participants will share their workshop experiences on a daily basis, as well as take part in local side trips to places like the Grange Hall in New Gloucester (where we had our first shop) and attend a couple special Moser dinners.
Q: Why did you develop this program?
A: It all started when we had a longstanding customer ask if he could spend his vacation “interning” in our shop and learning how to make something special with his own two hands. It was an unusual request, but we said “why not” and set him up with a cabinetmaker from the shop and let them work side-by-side for about a week or so. It was such a great experience that he encouraged us to develop it into a program so we could offer the opportunity to others.
Q: Why is CIR important to Thos. Moser?
A: There are many layers to how CIR is important to our company, the first and foremost of which is creating a deeper connection between us and our customers by creating an experience that cannot be duplicated. Based on the feedback of past participants, we seem to be achieving this goal. This program also allows us to get closer to our roots as woodworkers by sharing the nuances of a craft that could otherwise be lost if not passed along. And of course there is the “halo effect” that will come from the participants themselves after they leave our shop and share their experiences with their friends, families and colleagues.
Q: How long have you been doing the CIR program?
A: We began the program in the fall of 2007, and as far as we know it is the first of its kind for a furniture maker like Thos. Moser. The inaugural CIR program session was held September 17-21, 2007 with five participants.
Q: Are future CIR program sessions planned?
A: Yes, we host one week-long session per month from April thru November (8 sessions in total), and are in the process of setting dates for 2013.
Q: How are the participants selected and can the general public sign up for the CIR program?
A: We include a brief overview about the CIR program in each of our catalogs and invite customers to contact us if they were interested in participating. The response has been tremendous and we have accumulated a growing list people who have expressed a serious interest in the program. Slots are generally reserved on a "first come, first served" basis by making a deposit. While there is no requirement that people have purchased our furniture in order to be eligible for the program, we are giving preference to people who have done so because it is thanks to them that we are able to make a living as furnituremakers.
If you are interested in being a participant in a future Customer in Residence session, please
send us an email
with your contact information and preferred dates or general timeframe and we will respond promptly to your inquiry.
Q: With such high level of interest, do you plan to expand the CIR program?
A: We are constantly evaluating the program and considering ways to improve or expand the program in some way. As a relatively small furnituremaking venture that has a healthy backlog of customer projects to build, it has been no small task figuring out how to commit five of our most experienced cabinetmakers (not to mention a team of folks from various departments to support them) to this program without impacting those commitments. At the end of the day we still have a responsibility to take care of the needs of our customers who have ordered from us first. For that reason, we haven’t yet decided whether to expand the number of sessions that we will offer next year.
Q: Is there a fee to participate in the CIR program? Does the program fee vary with the piece chosen?
A: Yes, there is an all-inclusive fee for the program that includes everything that is needed to build a piece of furniture (materials, tools, on-site mentor, etc.), local transportation to and from the shop and various excursions, meals, lodging at the Harraseeket Inn, and of course the piece of furniture that will be built. The price generally ranges from $6,300 to $14,000 depending on the project that is being built."
Q: Can the CIR participants build anything they want? How much flexibility does a customer have to customize their piece?
A: Each CIR participant is welcome to choose from among our standard furniture designs. We then work with each participant to help determine what might be most appropriate based on their individual skill and experience level in woodworking and the time allotted during the week. We are open to customization requests (alternate wood species, finish, hardware, dimension change, etc.), however the ability to accommodate such requests and whether or not a surcharge is appropriate is evaluated on a case by case basis and may vary with the piece chosen and type of customization requested.
Q: If a couple wants to participate together, is that allowed and is the fee different?
A: Yes, we have had couples participate together and the price for a couple is dependent on what they are building.
Q: What do the participants do in the evenings and are there other activities besides working in the shop?
A: The program includes two pre-planned dinners that we put on as well as several free nights so people can enjoy some of the activities and great restaurants that our area of Maine has to offer.
Design Trade Program
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