Many of you have probably heard the sad news of the passing of a woodworking community giant – Leonard Lee. I never got the chance to meet Mr. Lee in person, but I am extremely familiar with his products and his company – Lee Valley.
It’s through the quality of the tools and the integrity of the company that, I believe, we have all gotten to know Leonard Lee the man. Lee Valley is focused on customer service, much beyond the mere lip-service found at many other companies. Lee Valley has been fierce innovators and staunch supporters of the woodworking community.
When we started 360 WoodWorking we sought sponsors whose products and general attitude toward their customers fit with our model: Sponsors with whom we could be proud to be associated. Lee Valley was first on that list. When we contacted them, without hesitation, they jumped on board. That attitude of wanting to support and help grow the woodworking community at large comes directly from their foundation – Leonard Lee.
When a company focuses on keeping the quality of their products at the highest level while maintaining affordability, and dedicates their entire organization to legendary customer service, it’s usually not the bean-counters that are driving that company. Happy customers come first, quality is a close second because it helps drive customer satisfaction and all of this comes from a visionary, not a corporate swimmer.
From the relationship with his company, I suspect that Leonard Lee was a thoughtful, caring and giving man who wasn’t afraid to take risks and would have gone far out of his way to help a neighbor, or even a stranger. In this modern age, he was a man who truly wanted to help and not just take advantage of someone – a rare trait indeed. He was a man of honor and integrity that was also warm and friendly. He was the kind of man I could easily have called a friend. And though I never met him, I know all this because I know the company he started the and the son he raised – both of which mirror those qualities. His loss is sorely felt.
On behalf of the 360 WoodWorking community, to Robin and the entire Lee family, Wally and the rest of the Lee Valley team, you have our deepest sympathies and our sincerest condolences.