Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Made In The USA – Woodworker’s Source
Woodworkers Source is a family business started by Keith Stephens in 1978. They have three stores located in Arizona and an excellent web site as well. Keith’s wife, Betty, and their son, Mark, are also active in the business. The Company has three retail locations and a top notch web site offering the broadest selection of hardwoods in the United States.
This is a great story of finding and filling a need. Keith Stephens had done several home projects and that success lead to making several more woodworking projects. For the next one he needed quality hardwoods. He went to the lumber yard where he usually bought materials and asked for some hardwood. The conversation went like this:
“Sorry, Keith, we don’t sell hardwoods.”
“Where do I get some?” I asked.
“We do not know” they replied.
Disappointed, he went to another lumber yard and received the same information. He went home baffled. There he was an aspiring woodworker with a plan and a bill of materials but he could not find any hardwood lumber. He continued to ask friends and relatives and ultimately got directed to the local hardwood outlet.
After a really bad experience trying to buy from what should have bee the right source, a hardwood dealer he ended up buying what he needed at a local cabinet shop.
His woodworking knowledge continued to grow and he was a subscriber with the first issue of Fine Woodworking. Woodworking seemed to be gaining in popularity and, he recalled his difficulties buying hardwoods, it seemed to him there might be a business opportunity. Then he stumbled onto an ad for a hardwood lumber franchise. Austin Hardwoods had a location in Tucson, AZ and wanted to sell it.
The sale of another business provided the capital to move both the Tucson and Phoenix stores to bigger, better facilities. Sales continued to grow each year and in a few years they opened another, larger facility in the northwest section of Phoenix about thirty miles from the existing location. In the mid nineties they placed small ads in several magazines offering hardwood by mail order, and orders started to come in. At first, these were handled by the office staff but over time the volume grew and a full time customer service representative was added and in 1998 their first web site was launched.
North Phoenix Location: 18115 N. Black Canyon Hwy, Phoenix, AZ 85023 • 602-504-1931
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