Bob Smallwood takes over at Bourgeois Guitars

Bob and Sonjia Smallwood

Bourgeois Guitars, located in Lewiston, ME, has introduced Bob Smallwood as their President/COO, and CFO. Smallwood has actually been at the helm since September 2016, when he came aboard to assist founder and chief luthier Dana Bourgeois in finding a new facility for building their top-rated instruments, designing a new shop space, and getting everything moved in.

The story of how this all came to be has something of a movie plot feel to it. Bob and Dana had known each other in college, when they were attending Bowdoin College together in Brunswick, ME some years ago. Smallwood was already a guitar aficionado, and Dana a burgeoning builder, but they went their separate ways after graduation with Bob finding himself in Colorado where he built a successful career building and managing manufacturing companies.

When they met again at a Bowdoin reunion last year, Smallwood had retired as president of an energy company, and was interested in getting more involved with music. Bourgeois had recently learned that the location where he had been building this past 16 years would no longer be available for their shop, and was contemplating moving into a new facility.

So the two old friends reminisced, and talked shop at the reunion, and that conversation continued when they both returned home. Before long, plans were struck for Bob and his wife, Sonjia, to pull up stakes in Colorado and move to south central Maine. Bob’s manufacturing background and experience with workplace design and flow were invaluable in creating the new shop, which is now completed and functioning on Cedar Street in Lewiston.

Sonjia is now working at the shop as well, answering the phone and handling accounting, purchasing, payroll, and human resources. A trained drafter, she also did the drawings for the new factory layout, including modeling.

Looks like a chance encounter between old friends has laid the template for the next chapter in the Bourgeois Guitars story.

You can read more about the company and their wide range of handmade acoustic guitars online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.