MECHANIC FALLS — Greg Morgan, a pastor with an outgoing, bubbly personality, has two jobs these days — and things are getting especially busy with the arrival of the Christmas giving season.

Morgan started a storefront on Etsy in 2018 after he discovered his newfound hobby of wood turning. Etsy is an e-commerce company focused on handmade and vintage items.

Morgan’s youth pastor at the Pleasant Street Baptist Church in Mechanic Falls introduced him to the lathe and showed him some basic techniques.

Greg Morgan sets up a drill to make a hole in a piece of Bethlehem olive wood that will become a pen. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Gift pens, he thought, could be the answer to his prayers. Pastors do not generally make a lot of  money, even with a master’s degree, and Morgan wanted a little extra cash for date nights with his wife.

He began by selling at the local flea market. After a while, however, he realized he was breaking after paying the monthly booth fee.

Morgan put some items on his new Etsy page and waited. Nothing. A month and a half later, one razor had sold and the future was not looking bright.


What does a pastor do? Turn to a higher authority?

“So, I wondered if I need something that would differentiate me from the other wood turners,” Morgan said. “So, I started looking at a laser engraver or a CNC machine — and I don’t know how to run either machine.” CNC is short for computerized numerical control, which is a method for automating control of machine tools.

Pastor Greg Morgan uses a lathe to shape a piece of Bethlehem olive wood into the shaft of a pen. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

After discussing things with his wife, Sarah, a nurse, Morgan took the plunge and bought a laser engraver — without ever having used one — for $5,000, with the caveat he make the money back. At the end of the first year on Etsy, his wife got a fancy new Brookstone massage chair, which he says made her happy.

Morgan even opened a little storefront in Mechanic Falls at a building owned by his youth pastor. After two years, however, only four customers walked through his door. That was in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, so Morgan closed his shop and moved his small operation to the basement of his house.

He returned his focus to his Etsy storefront and, with the help of a fellow entrepreneur on an Etsy forum, made some tweaks to his storefront and went from selling seven items a month to seven items a week. It has grown ever since, with sales almost doubling from year one to year two and again the next year. Now in his fourth year as an Etsy seller, Morgan hopes to surpass the $100,000 mark in gross sales and has 92 products on his site.

One of two laser engravers works on glass stones, which are covered with painter’s tape to prevent scorching, for a West Coast company Tuesday morning at the basement workshop of Pastor Greg Morgan’s house in Mechanic Falls. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

On the day before Thanksgiving, Morgan had received a large rush order for some engraved glass stones — keywords from a company’s mission statement to be handed out to employees in California and North Carolina.


“This order came in with short notice. I ran a 10-hour day yesterday, and I’ll probably run eight hours today,” Morgan said. “But then I’ll probably take Wednesday off and a do a couple of orders Thursday.”

That is the beauty of his side job. It provides that bit of instant gratification we all crave now and again.

“Most of being a pastor is dealing with people in struggles and problems,” Morgan said, adding that counseling can frequently take months or longer to resolve. “The other side of the coin for me is I actually get to see results every single day with these (laser engravers). So, yes, I have the more difficult side of life with pastoring, but then I have the fun side of life with gift giving.”

The studio and display for his products at the entrance to Pastor Greg Morgan’s basement workshop at his house in Mechanic Falls. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Morgan said his life is now a balancing act.

“This will always come second to pastoring,” he said, referring to his basement business venture. “If I’m running an order and I have to leave, I just shut off the machine and go. It will be here when I get home.”

He said his two jobs overlap at times, allowing him to work on his weekly sermon on his laptop as the preprogrammed laser engraver does a run. His wife lends a hand with big orders, as does the youth pastor who got him started.


Morgan also sells locally, engraving urns for funeral homes and selling products listed on his website — COAH Creations. He meets with customers when needed, and said a typical day has him working on COAH orders from 9 a.m. to noon, and then tending to his responsibilities with the church, with classes and meetings with members of his congregation sometimes running well into the evening.

Sunday is all about being a pastor, he said, so his only downtime is Saturdays. But this time of year is his busiest for the ETSY storefront, which means he typically works seven days a week.

Pastor Greg Morgan of COAH Creations holds a custom made pen Tuesday morning in his basement workshop in Mechanic Falls. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“Yeah, I’m a workaholic. I enjoy it though,” he said, laughing.

In an average month, Morgan sells $2,500 to $3,000 worth of merchandise. This time of year, however, he will do $8,000 to $10,000 in sales for the holidays. That means he will spend about 20 hours a week or more working on his COAH business and 30 to 50 hours a week pastoring,

Morgan sources some unusual components for his products: Pen shafts made from Bethlehem wood — olive wood from the Holy Land — or recycled pulpit, deer antler or tulip. He also does his own leather work.

A good portion of Morgan’s gifts have a Christian theme, he said, and COAH Creations will customize products to suit customers’ needs.

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