The Maine company that makes wooden Easter eggs for the White House

Posted April 14, 2017, at 6:49 a.m.
Last modified April 14, 2017, at 5:48 p.m.

A Maine woodworking company famous for supplying the White House with wooden Easter eggs had another client this year: a political activist working to raise money for organizations imperiled by President Donald Trump.

Wells Wood Turning and Finishing in Buckfield has been making tens of thousands of wooden eggs painted blue, green, yellow, pink and gold for the White House’s annual Easter Egg Roll almost every year for the past decade.

“We call ourselves America’s wood egg supplier,” said Wells’ vice president and co-owner Simon Varney.

That’s why Natalie Rebsetsky — a high school teacher from Maryland who has attended the egg roll with her family since the early ’90s — turned to the company to make 1,000 custom eggs for her own cause.

In late February, she created a GoFundMe page, where donors who pledged $15 would receive one of the eggs. Her efforts made the national media, and she raised just over $15,000. About $5,000 of would cover the cost of making the eggs, and the rest was to be divided between the National Endowment for the Arts and Maryland’s local PBS station. She has since run out of her eggs and doesn’t plan to have more made.

In his first federal budget, President Donald Trump last month proposed eliminating funding for the NEA, the National Endowment for the Humanities and Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

“I didn’t care who was president when I went on the White House lawn. You just always knew the person in the White House is looking out for us and our children,” Rebsetsky told The Washington Post. “I just don’t feel that with this administration. Donald Trump has broken that trust with families and children.”

For Varney, it was just another order.

“We produce very nice high-quality eggs to a host of different accounts,” Varney said. “We tend to be eggnostic on who we are providing it for.”

National media this year questioned whether the event would actually take place after Varney’s company tweeted on Feb. 20: “FYI manufacturing deadlines for the Easter eggs are near. Please reach out!”

Varney said his company was just trying to promote the Easter eggs, and not insinuate that the Trump administration was behind on ordering them.

But the tweet lead to speculation over whether the scandal-prone Trump administration was capable of pulling off the complicated event, T he New York Times reported recently.

Varney and his business partner Christian Chandler bought the company last year from its former owners so they could get into the Maine manufacturing industry.

The eggs are among several other products the woodworking company creates such as baseball bats, custom furniture parts and tool handles.

The White House is among about a dozen clients Wells makes eggs for each year, including the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, the Harry S. Truman Little White House, and various veterans associations, libraries and sometimes congressmen.

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