Good tools are right at hand at the ever-expanding Wood Werks Supply.
The company, owned by father-and-son team Ron and Todd Damon, currently operates a 25,000-square- foot facility at 1181 Claycraft Road as well as a smaller satellite store at 9009 Gemini Parkway.
“We started in dad’s garage and then opened the first store in 1990, over on Morrison Road, with about 4,800 square feet that we rented in a larger building,” Todd Damon said. “It seemed like we were knocking down walls to add space every year until we were just bursting at the seams.
“At that point, it was obvious we had to buy our own building, so that marked a major milestone for us.”
Father and son were previously hobbyist woodworkers; Ron had just retired from the insurance business while Todd was finishing college when they decided to open Wood Werks.
“It was a struggle to find quality lumber and hardware, as well as tools here in Columbus to support our hobbies,” Todd said. “When we realized other hobbyists were having that trouble, too, we realized there was a void we could fill. So we saw an opportunity and to our surprise, 22 years later, we’re at the helm of one of the largest woodworking stores in the nation.”
According to Todd, it is their passion for the craft, which is evident to their customers, that has helped build their success.
“Customers realize this isn’t just a job for us,” he said. “Our shops offer customers a very unique experience; it’s very hands-on and interactive. Oftentimes, we’re able to let them operate the products themselves to help them make a decision.
“We built a store the way we, as woodworkers ourselves, want a woodworking store to be.”
This concept extends to their employees.
“We’re completely staffed by woodworkers. When we all leave for the night, we go home and work on our own projects, and that shows in our level of knowledge we offer the customers,” Todd said.
Many of the staff’s personal woodworking projects are rotated in and out of displays at the store.
“Whether it’s a boat I’ve built or a piece of furniture one of the other guys made, the customers see that and know they can engage us and create a relationship that is about more than just selling tools,” Todd said. “That’s important because we’d like to be all things to all woodworkers, and within reason, we have anything a woodworker would need, from the smallest items to $250,000 CNC machines.”
One rapidly growing segment of Wood Werks’ business model is its online store.
“We’ve tried to create an online experience the accurately replicates a trip to our store,” Todd said. “There’s challenges to doing that, but we believe we’ve tried our best to express that we’re real woodworkers, not just an online merchant.
“Our business is growing again after a couple of tough years with the economy, but anyone who says the market isn’t getting better is looking in the wrong place.”
Wood Werks hosts an annual expo providing seminars and demonstrations; it is scheduled this year on Oct. 18-20.
“We’ll get 4,000 customers here in a weekend for the expo. We could never have done that in a smaller space,” Todd said. “There’s nothing more rewarding than doing what you have a passion for and building something with your own hands.”
More information about Wood Werks is available online at www.woodwerks.com.