Photograph by Alias Photography
In one corner of Forest Park’s industrial business-scape, within the nondescript exterior of Ratech Driveline Components, Brad Musuraca is incubating Tronk, the handcrafted contemporary furniture company he launched in January. Musuraca graduated from The University of Cincinnati in 2006, where he studied…classics. “So now I have a degree in Latin, and I make furniture,” he says. While at UC, Musuraca was so inspired by a student furniture exhibit he saw that he bought himself a table saw and started a crash course in woodworking. His handmade designs—available for purchase through his website—scored a weeklong berth in May on Fab.com, the flash sale design site where members can buy everything from vintage T-shirts and contemporary jewelry to modern furniture, home accessories, and art.
Musuraca’s designs are undoubtedly Mid-Century Modern–inspired. His materials of choice include cherry, walnut, and maple, from which he builds geometric, minimalist tables, shelves, planters, and bed frames, as well as a series of iPad docks that blend the ubiquitous tech accessory with a 1960s-style clock.
Despite his lack of industry experience, Musuraca clearly comes from savvy entrepreneurial stock, both in manufacturing and design. His father, John, has owned Ratech since 1988 and his mother, Connie, is an interior decorator. So far, Musuraca has managed to keep Tronk’s overhead low. He’s chosen rent-free studio space over a pricey downtown storefront and has kept his day job as Ratech’s shop floor manager. Tronk’s only other employee is Musuraca’s girlfriend, Fernanda Vergara, who handles PR and marketing while working full-time at The Nielsen Company. “We’re debt-free,” says Musuraca of Tronk, which as any small business owner knows all too well, is a great ingredient for success.
Tronk, (513) 207-4285, tronkdesign.com
Originally published in the August 2013 issue