BETHEL — A California woman who “fell in love with Bethel” a decade ago has bought the S. Timberlake Shaker Chair business.

S. Timberlake was established in 1974 by the late Sam Timberlake and his son, Ross. The company makes Shaker reproduction chairs, stools and rocking chairs, which it sells worldwide.

Ross and his wife, Carole, have operated the business largely on their own for the past 15 years.

“I decided 10 years ago to start an exit plan,” Ross said.

Enter Kay Stewart of Palo Alto, Calif.

Stewart, a retired certified public accountant, first came to Bethel 10 years ago when her daughter attended Gould Academy.


She bought a table from the Timberlakes, and as she returned over the years, she bought other pieces of furniture.

And she was curious.

“She’d ask me things about the business,” Ross said.

Stewart said, “I thought, ‘Someday, I’m going to be doing something like this,’ never thinking I would actually own the company that inspired me.”

Although the purchase means she has come out of retirement, it doesn’t mean she’s moving to Bethel and taking over operations.

Stewart said she is not a furniture maker. 


“I know numbers and how to analyze them,” she said.

For now, Ross will continue to manage the business.

The two hope to grow S. Timberlake, add jobs and transition it to a younger generation.

“We hope to find a career-minded individual who has a passion about woodworking and wants to learn the skills,” Ross said.

They intend to continue to focus on Shaker reproduction furniture.

“The Shaker legacy has always been important to me,” Ross said.

He plans to add some more original, contemporary furniture designs that blend well with Shaker to the company’s catalog of products. He will continue to accept orders on custom-made furniture items under the name Timberlake and Co.

For more on S. Timberlake, go to

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