What started as a part time hobby for Jim Kickertz, founder of K&J Woodworks, evolved into a dynamic business venture, consistently manufacturing some of the finest, sturdiest, and most innovative retail millwork fixtures in America for twenty eight years. With quality, flexibility, and innovation built into the K&J business model, the now top-of-the-line woodworking organization is manufacturing world class millwork, at economically competitive prices. Quality, speed, delivery and installation are all a part of the K&J Woodworks customer service experience. We look forward to the future of K&J and working with you on your next project!
The Early Years
Jim Kickertz didn’t set out to become a national manufacturer of custom millwork fixtures. As the story unfolds in the Austin, Texas area in the early 1980’s, Jim began building birdhouses and patio decks in his garage to follow his own personal woodworking dream. One day, after constructing a college-style bookcase, garnering rave reviews from his wife, her next words “you’ve got a talent” would inspire Jim to pursue a new career as a woodworker. Being in the right place at the right time is a fitting analogy when detailing K&J’s rise-to-success story. The year was 1984 and Jim accepted a job as a meat cutter in the original Lamar store location for Whole Foods Market. In this era of Jim’s meat cutting career, Whole Foods afforded Jim a flexible work schedule so when off the Whole Foods time clock, he could pursue his woodworking hobby. Jim’s entrepreneurial passion, combined with the rise of Whole Foods, landed him various side projects fabricating custom millwork fixtures for stores both locally in Texas, and surrounding regional areas. With his reputation as a reliable woodworker beginning to open new doors, Jim founded Kickertz Enterprises, the original name for his new cabinetry shop business. Three years later, fueled by word of mouth, the demand of various Texas companies wanting to purchase quality casework, and the growth of Whole Foods, in 1987, Jim launched K&J Woodworks as a commercial custom millwork manufacturer.
In the early progression of K&J, new technology emerged that would transform the business from a traditional woodworking shop into a state-of-the-art millwork facility. With new advances positively impacting the efficiency of the woodworking industry, things began to change for K&J in 1995 when CNC (computer numerical controlled) machinery debuted in the shop. This technology revolutionized K&J’s fixture engineering and production process. The dynamic result of this new machinery led not only to increased speed, innovation and efficiency, but curves and accuracy in fixture production took on a whole new meaning, propelling K&J into the top tier of sophisticated, national commercial millwork manufacturers.
As K&J grew, the company positioned itself to complement the Whole Foods company culture, producing attractive, functional and quality millwork displays that helped brand the signature Whole Foods store millwork design image so familiar to shoppers today. This experience has provided K&J opportunities to work in a variety of industries expanding the company’s knowledge as well as talent. K&J Woodworks is competitively positioned to produce traditional, modern and futuristic custom millwork fixtures, while retaining the flexibility and adaptability that has allowed K&J to grow and evolve with the times.
The most important component to K&J’s success is its employees. The company’s Leadership and Management team members have been with K&J for fifteen to twenty years. The stability this creates has been evident by the growth of the company as well as the investment in its employees. K&J’s Engineering, Manufacturing and Installation team members all carry ten to fifteen years of experience in the industry. Most of those employees experience has been with K&J. There is a strong commitment amongst K&J employees to succeed, not just for themselves, but for the family that K&J has become over the years. That family lost its founder and owner Jim Kickertz September 2013, leaving big shoes to fill. Jim left a legacy that will forever live on in the hearts of others because of the way he taught us to live and love.
In 1992, Brett Burich, was hired on for a weekend project. When that project was complete, he was promised two more weeks of employment, but from there the future was unclear. Now twenty three years later, Brett has held almost every position in the company. This experience has provided the advantage of knowing exactly what it takes to process a project start to finish. Brett was promoted to General Manager in September 2013. In this position, he proved his leadership skills by supporting all employees through a time of uncertainty, loss and projects that needed to continue. With his “roll up your sleeves” attitude, Brett jumped in with both feet to encourage those around him, including K&J’s customer, vendors, and even the bank. In August of 2014, Brett and his wife, Leslie, became the owners of K&J. They feel honored that K&J can continue on its steady growth and that its’ family of employees have a place where they can grow, create, and be successful in their careers.
In Loving Memory
James “Jim” G. Kickertz