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Tumwater Woodworking Business Utilizes SBA Services to Overcome Obstacles

Headshot of business owner

Joe Wadsworth, Owner of Custom Source Woodworking


Joe Wadsworth started Custom Source Woodworking in 2007 after having spent more than a decade working for other businesses seeing how woodworking shops treated employees as replaceable while not paying them a livable wage and thought that it could be done differently. He thought that if you treat your employees well and provide a product and service you can be proud of, the employees will be invested in the company’s success as well. He started with one employee in a 2,000 square foot shop specializing in custom built cabinets, desks, and workstations. By 2015 Wadsworth and his partners had grown the company into a 37,000 square foot facility with more than 40 employees that provides high end custom woodwork across the United States. Some of those employees were previously incarcerated, Wadsworth is a second-chance employer who believes in giving everyone a fresh start. In 2016 Wadsworth realized that no matter how hard he worked or how many sales the company was making, the business wasn’t profitable. He knew he to figure out what was going wrong.


In 2016, Wadsworth contacted the Small Business Development Center in Lacey. Wadsworth took a step back from the production side of his business to work with Ron Nielson, a certified business adviser, to figure out what to do. Nielson provided free business advice and recommended Wadsworth take specialized business financial training classes.

After completing the financial training, Wadsworth took control over the company and the financial operations. He dug into the company’s financials and uncovered years of fraud, theft, mismanagement, and unpaid taxes. Wadsworth used the information he learned from the training to establish financial controls, update operations, restructure the financials, and ultimately repay the $1.2 million dollar tax debt to the Internal Revenue Service. Since the implementation of new financial controls, Wadsworth has monthly meetings with the employees to review the company financials and passing on his lessons learned from the SBDC in hopes to soon be able to give his profit-sharing employees distributions. Wadsworth was on track to meet that goal by the end of 2020 until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Wadsworth turned to SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) which provided the capital he needed to retain all of his staff and have the working capital to keep his doors open.    

From the Business Owner

“SBA has really been there for us; we have been able overcome things that felt impossible.” Wadsworth said. “With the tools I was given, I’ve been able to focus on taking care of my employees who take care of us back. It was the premise for starting my business that has been proven true.”

Company Name: 
Custom Source Woodworking
Tumwater, WA