Jason Schroeder is not afraid to take risks when starting his own business.
“I went to Kettering University in Flint,” Schroeder said. “I studied mechanical engineering. When I graduated, I started working at a store in Grand Haven. But I am always interested in starting my own business and using CNC machines. So, in 2014, I put them together.”
The result is 3D Woodworker, a manufacturer of custom, detail-oriented wooden signs for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc.
“I posted my first listing on Etsy and sold it within a week,” Schroeder said. “I was very excited when I first sold it. Then I started posting on eBay and it was complicated. I sell it every three days and then sell it every day.”
Schroeder continued to work in the Grand Haven store, went home at night, and worked on the order until late at night. Six months later, he knew he had to make a tough choice.
“It has become too much,” Schroeder said. “So, I took the liberty to give up my job. This is probably one of the toughest days I have ever had, telling my boss that I am giving up doing something that might or might not work.”
But just a few months later, Schroeder hired his first worker. In 2016, after two years of development, he built a pole barn on his property to move his business away from the basement and garage.
“I need more space,” he said. “At the same time, I got married, my wife didn’t want the machine to work in the basement, and it was noisy all day.”
Business continued to grow until 3D Woodworker had five full-time employees. In 2018, after four years of continued success, Schroeder decided it was time to find a more permanent position.
“Now we are moving from the pole valley to a 20,000 square foot building,” he said. “That was a big jump. After the Christmas boom, we moved in January.”
The building is located at 3306 Windquest Drive in the Netherlands and is a new development.
“Lakewood Construction is building the property,” Schroeder said. “Because it is in a certain area, we are able to offer tax breaks exclusively for manufacturers of new buildings.”
The tax deduction approved by the Dutch Township Council on October 18 will provide a 50% discount on the 12-year property tax.
“It’s great, especially for starting a new business,” Schroeder said. “This is the driving force for community growth.”
Speaking of the community, Schroeder hopes to cooperate with local residents and businesses after the expansion is completed.
“Now, we are mainly e-commerce,” he said. “But we plan to expand to the local community in the next few years. This is an ongoing work.”