Several years ago, Sarah Ruganis had a strong urge to create a spoon. Yes, a spoon. Specifically, a wooden cooking spoon.
She’s from a small town in Illinois and grew up around the restaurant industry, but always has been crafty, working with her hands and imagination to create. She settled in Naples in 1998 and eventually started a family. One day, a family friend showed her his workshop and introduced her to a drawknife, a long blade used for shaving wood. It sparked a passion: She got into woodworking and started making her own serving spoons. It sounded odd, admittedly, but it was the culmination of shopping for cookware and never really finding anything that looked and felt right. “I wanted to see beautiful things in my kitchen,” she says. “I wasn’t finding what I liked, so I thought, ‘I could do this myself.’”
Woodland Treasures now takes up half of the family’s four-bay garage. Ruganis crafts spoons and other kitchen utensils using lumber imported from local sources such as Alva Hardwoods. Mostly she sells through Etsy and her website, and her business has taken off during the pandemic. She actually started about a year before COVID hit, but orders started piling up once people were spending more time online—and more time indoors, looking around at what they lacked in their kitchen.
Production-wise, her limit is about one spoon a day. She says she’s pretty much tapped out; with four kids, she just doesn’t have much more time to commit. One day she’d like to have a storefront and expand the business, but that’s years off. For now, she’s content with creating and sharing with those who appreciate it: “I just hope I can keep doing what I’m doing—and enjoying it.”