Business loan & coach help woodworker build business
July 27, 2022
Anyone who purchases essential oils at a Whole Foods Market witnesses the talent of Devin Clark of Braxby’s Woodwork. Devin designed and built 1,200 display racks for Whole Foods, working 18-hour days for over three months to complete the order. Built from maple and shipped from Braxby’s shop in rural Oconto Falls, the display racks are used in nearly 500 stores in North America.
“It was an awesome contract and a great company to work for,” Devin said.
Devin opened Braxby’s Woodwork in 2016 and creates custom hardwood and metal furniture for commercial and residential use. He handcrafts items to be beautiful and functional.
“I don’t just build furniture. I build something that you’ll want to hand down to your kids,” he said.
To supplement the woodworking business, Devin also produces intricate prototype designs for clients who mass-produce the furniture in China and Mexico. Braxby’s Woodwork receives a royalty for every unit that sells.
To take his business to the next level, Braxby’s Woodwork is applying for a micro loan from the Oconto County Economic Development Corporation. Devin plans to purchase more tools and change the direction of his business.
This will be the company’s second micro loan. Braxby’s Woodwork used a $10,000 micro loan to purchase higher-end tools and the company’s first Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine in 2019.
“Had I not had that first CNC and tools, I wouldn’t have done that (Whole Foods Market) contract,” Devin said.
Samantha Boucher, OCEDC tourism director, said that Braxby’s Woodwork is an excellent example of a small business that benefited from the micro loan program.
“Equipment like Devin’s is expensive, and many small businesses don’t have the working capital to cover it. A micro loan is a good financing option for buying equipment, and the loans also can be used to buy inventory or real estate or renovate a business,” Samantha said. “Contact our staff, and we’ll help you apply.”
In addition to the micro loan, Devin partnered with OCEDC for business coaching available through the Oconto County Business Innovations Development Program. Devin works one-on-one with business consultant Mike Mathews, program manager.
As an aftereffect of sports-related concussions, Devin lives with Post-Concussion Syndrome. He experiences what he calls “good memory days and bad memory days.”
“Mike helps me become very productive on good memory days and still keep productivity up on bad memory days - days when I just want to close the doors,” Devin said. “He tells me, ‘Don’t give up!’ I appreciate that so much.”
OCBID helps start-ups and small businesses plan, start, expand, or transition their business, so they, in turn, can contribute to the local economy.
“I wish more businesses my size would know about the program and could use it,” Devin said. “Mike’s been a true friend and mentor.”
To learn more about OCBID or apply for a micro loan, visit ocontocounty.org or contact the OCEDC office at 1113 Main Street, Oconto, 920-834-6969, or firstname.lastname@example.org.