From career builder to woodworker: How this retired recruiter transformed his hobby into a business

Shel Myeroff spent the better part of his professional life helping executives find their perfect jobs. He founded Solon-based Direct Recruiters in the late 1970s and spent 35 years growing the company.

But at the end of the day, Myeroff would go home and unwind by making furniture in his basement. “It’s calming,” he says of woodworking. “It brings you another place.” For years, Myeroff made furniture as a hobby and studied with masters all over the country while maintaining his day job.

 In 2013, he decided to turn his hobby into a second career. He left Direct Recruiters and informally went into the furniture making business—making pieces for friends, family, and neighbors.

“Because I’m an entrepreneur, I cannot sit still,” Myeroff proclaims. “We started out of our garage in Chagrin Falls about five years ago as I was exiting my 38-year career as owner of a recruiting firm.”

By 2018, Myeroff officially retired. Business was so good that he officially launched Chagrin Valley Custom Furniture (CVCF) and opened a state-of-the-art woodworking shop and showroom in Warrensville Heights. “It’s a beautiful shop, highly automated,” he shares. “We like to work in the rustic zone and put a modern twist on it.”

While Myeroff says he began by “building everything,” today he has built CVCF into a thriving custom furniture business that serves the public, the hospitality industry, and corporate clients—fulfilling orders from all over the United States. He has about a half dozen woodworkers on staff, with Zach Schulte acting as shop foreman and vice president of operations.

CVCF specializes in rustic furniture—many pieces are made from reclaimed barn wood—and live-edge pieces that incorporate the natural edge of the wood into the look. Many of these pieces also incorporate a waterfall (or riverbed), which is a technique using epoxy resin to create a colorful accent.

“A live edge is basically the end of the tree, and it’s very popular right now,” Myeroff explains. “We blend the rustic live edge with epoxy, and it’s one of the most fun things we do. We build everything out of rustic wood, and we use a lot of Northeast Ohio wood—walnut, maple, cherry, sassafras.”

Prices are determined based on the project but can range between $900 for a small table to upwards of $6,000 for a live edge dining room table or other larger piece.

Myeroff works closely with clients to create one-of-a-kind pieces that fit their visions. “Some of them are conservative and want to do conservative stuff, and I don’t mind,” he says. “But I sneak stuff in there. Then it gets to their place and they say they love it.”

No matter what a customer wants, Myeroff assures the design will be unique: “We never sell two things alike—they are all different."

CVCF's showroom is located at 26309 Miles Road, Suite 4, in Warrensville Heights. The showroom is normally open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but Myeroff advises calling him at (440) 591-5511 before heading in.

Karin Connelly Rice
Karin Connelly Rice

About the Author: Karin Connelly Rice

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.