When people think of high-quality custom cabinets, Jeff Bendlin wants Midwest Woodworks to come to mind.
Bendlin started his residential custom cabinetry business in 2008. It’s grown through word-of-mouth and a devotion to quality.
“If somebody wants the best cabinets they can get, I want them to think that they’re coming from here,” Bendlin said.
Bendlin noted he’s an overachiever when it comes to customer service and satisfaction.
“I want to deliver more than they’re expecting,” he said. “I think we kind of strive for that. We make sure the customer’s happy and that it’s over and above what they wanted or it’s exactly what they wanted.”
Last summer, Midwest Woodworks moved into a larger space located on 11th Avenue East. The business has two full-time employees, plus Bendlin and his wife.
The new building, 10,000 square feet of which the business uses (there’s room to grow), is much larger than the 2,400 square feet Bendlin worked with at his former location.
“We were just limited,” Bendlin said. “The last three years we plateaued, you know, and there was know change. I knew we had to do something.”
With more space, he anticipated needing to find more work.
Instead, the work has found him.
“It’s just filled in on its own,” Bendlin said.
Bendlin, a Spencer native, always knew he’d start his own business eventually. He worked for and learned the cabinetry craft from his dad, then worked for a construction company before a few years before starting Midwest Woodworks.
The idea to start a business was always there, though.
“I kind of had that idea or that plan, I guess, out of high school that that was what I wanted to do,” Bendlin said. “But it took a few years before it actually came to fruition.”
He added he’s glad he worked for others first, noting he matured, learned more about business and gained experience.
As a business owner, Bendlin values giving back to the community.
“We do a lot with sponsoring, volunteering, donating and stuff like that,” Bendlin said. “We’ve been trying to do that more and more. We have a couple (youth) soccer teams, we had a baseball team, stuff up at the Y. Every school function it seems like we’re doing stuff or donating merchandise, money or something.”
He said community involvement helps create awareness for the business.
Midwest Woodworks is also a part of Spencer High School’s Extended Career Experience. Through the program, a senior student has an opportunity to work with and learn from Bendlin.
He enjoys teaching the students the ins and outs of his business, but he’s also hopeful the experience turns into a new employee some day.
“I’m looking for that next person and hoping that I’ll find one,” Bendlin said.
Growth into the commercial arena has been on Bendlin’s mind ever since moving to the new location. Residential orders have kept him and his crew too busy, though.
“We still want to,” Bendlin said of commercial work. “We’re just currently too busy with all the residential cabinets that we have right now.”
Most of Midwest Woodwork’s business comes from Spencer and surrounding communities.
However, they do have a regional reach.
“We’ve been to Yankton, Sioux Falls, Minneapolis, Des Moines, Council Bluffs, a few different places, anyway,” Bendlin said.
He’s even done work on a project in Santa Fe, New Mexico – and has another scheduled there for late this summer.
Those projects came from a connection made with a customer who used to live in Council Bluffs.
Word-of-mouth travels pretty far – and it’s helped Bendlin’s business continue to grow, with projects continuing to flow in.
“That’s pretty much been how they all stemmed,” he said.
Feature image: Jeff Bendlin, owner of Midwest Woodworks, stands inside a work space at the business.