Opening set for longtime Hamilton wood shop rehabbed to expanding laser works business

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

A project that began in the basement of Brian and Kelly Robinson’s historic Rossville home will soon officially become a Main Street business with the opening of High Main Laserworks.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Kelly, a retired cargo plane pilot, and Brian, a Hamilton Police Department lieutenant, tapped into their creative side to form the business in 2020. And it flourished. Then in August 2021, the couple purchased the former Little Wood Shop at 571 Main St. and began their quest to open a retail space.

The structure, built in 1924, was a a recognizable building with a green tile entrance near the intersection of Main and Eaton/Millville avenues that was home to a master wood worker, Seldon D. Brown, until his unexpected death in December 2020.

Like the 152-year-old house where the Robinsons live, they set out to renovate the building, which took a bit more doing that expected.

“We ended up doing a lot more than I think we planned, as with any project. We finally determined with the condition of the electric and plumbing it was just better if we pulled it all out. We gutted the building from top to bottom,” Kelly said.

High Main Laserworks will open Friday with a ribbon cutting scheduled for 3 p.m. It is a workshop in the back and retail space in the front, filled with unique items made for and using local resources.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The Robinsons began using the laser machine to etch and engrave items for unique gifts, but it didn’t become a business until they honed their skills on the machine they dubbed “Homer.”

They are now making and personalizing pieces for a range of gifts and keepsakes, including one-of-a kind cutting boards, bourbon barrel signs, tumblers, pens, journals, stones, drink glasses and wristlets.

In December, a huge laser printer they call “Large Marge” was added, allowing the creation of much bigger pieces and signs. A three-foot by three-foot sign was recently created for Petals & Wicks new Champion Mill store.

When Brian is not policing, he is handling work with a sandblaster used in much of the glass work.

The Robinsons had some setbacks to the opening, fueled by plenty of custom orders for the holidays and local events as well as a few months of recovery by Kelly, who suffered a broken ankle last summer. But, she said the wait has been worth it, “It turned out beautiful. It is nice and bright, but still a workshop.”

Brian has about four more years let at the HPD, so the business will be a retirement job. He said restoring such an iconic building was important and fits right in with the upswing of Hamilton’s downtown.

“I have been on the force 26 years and frankly I have seen some low points in the city when there as a lot of uncertainty,” he said. “There has been a drastic change and a lot of momentum moving forward. I am so happy to support the city and its history.”

The retail shop will be open from Thursday through Saturday for now, but the Robinsons are looking to add help that could extend hours.


See a photo gallery of High Main Laserworks and more news about Hamilton’s small business growth.

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