OLD SAYBROOK — As soon as school let out for the summer, Carson Garaventa got busy on his new business.
After collecting felled maple wood from friends and neighbors, splitting it and bundling it up, this 8-year-old entrepreneur opened his inaugural roadside stand, Carson’s Camp Wood. The enterprise is at the end of his driveway at the corner of Maple Street and Otis Street.
“Come by Carson’s Camp Wood, the best camp wood in town,” says Carson.
“The biggest bundles in town,” chimes in his dad, David Garaventa, who is also his right-hand man in the venture.
To date, Carson has made a $100 profit and is hoping to make $230 by the end of the summer.
The proceeds will be split 50/50, with half earmarked for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries.
“Children can help lead us and we can learn so much from the heart of the children who are just doing so much to help one another,” says Amy Hollis, executive director at the Shoreline Soup Kitchen & Pantries ds.
“They just know that we need to give back and we need to reach out to one another and we need to care for one another,” she adds. “We need to pay attention to these children who are doing so much to help us.”
For Carson, he has seen firsthand that the need is out there.
“Everyone deserves a meal,” he says.
His father says the family, including Carson’s mother, Kelly, have talked about giving back to the community.
“We see the lines at the food banks and we know that there’s people who need food, especially now,” says David Garaventa.
“That’s a nice way to give locally and I feel that the money will go a long way there, so it’s really nice,” he adds.
The bundles contain about eight to 10 pieces of timber, each about 15 inches long, that be used for “wood in the winter and campfires,” Carson explains. They cost $5 a piece.
The wheel barrel, filled to the brim with timber, is out Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. They expect the business to continue until Labor Day.
There is a small wooden box for the payments, all on the honor system.
The family’s 11-year-old golden retriever, Ries, often alerts the family when customers stop by.
“She starts barking,” says David Garaventa. “She’s the wood alarm.”
Carson’s plan for his profits is to invest in a metal detector. His inspiration is a story he read about metal detecting.
“I saw somewhere that a guy went in the water with a water metal detector; he found rings after rings after rings,” says Carson.
“One was an 18k, pure gold ring with a little diamond in the middle,” he says.
The Kathleen E. Goodwin School rising third grader has lots of time to devote to this pursuit since many summer camps are not in session, due to COVID-19.
Fortuitous for this budding businessman, the neighbors across the street cut down a large maple tree and donated the cut wood to the venture.
“We are delighted to help support Carson in his endeavor, and happy that our wood can help the Shoreline food pantry,” say Neighbors Gail and Arnie Korval.
After collecting the wood there was more work to be done.
“It was chunked and then we split it,” says David Garaventa.
“He splits some pieces himself,” he adds, looking at Carson.
Yet, this young businessman is quick to share the spotlight.
“Dad did some and I did some,” he says.
In addition to building his business, Carson is making time to do his favorite summer things, including swimming and snorkeling at Cornfield Point, crabbing, fishing and bike riding.
David Garaventa beams when he talks about his son’s creative idea.
“The bulk of this was his idea,” he says.
“I love it,” he adds. “It’s good. It keeps him outside, keeps him active. He starts to learn the value of a dollar and at the same time give back to charity, which I think is very important.”