One of Nicollet’s newest businesses is an old hand in its industry. Filzen Custom Hardwoods opened in June of 2019. The 13,000sf building already feels like home to its owner Brandon Filzen, who has previously operated out of his garage and then a small space in New Ulm. The move east to Nicollet has proved to be a good one.
“The Nicollet location is more centrally located, close to Mankato where most of our work is sold. We also do a small amount of work in New Ulm and Lake Crystal and try to stay within a 60 mile radius of the shop,” explains Filzen.
The “work” is more of a passion for Filzen. Filzen Custom Hardwoods specializes in handmade custom cabinetry such as kitchen and bathroom cabinets, game room bars, made-to-order furniture and specialized wood finishes as well as custom wood ceilings and wall fixtures.
“After high school I attended the carpentry and cabinetmaking program at South Central College,” he explains. “I graduated from that in 2006. I took a job working road construction for about eight years. In the winter I would get laid off and worked at a small cabinet shop in Mankato. This is where I really learned the trade of building cabinets and high-end products for the residential market.”
When his second child was born, Brandon and his wife decided it was time to take a leap of faith, and he went to work full time in Krohn’s Wood Shop. A decision that would allow him to be home every night and help with the daily duties of raising children. It also gave him more time with his mentor, Curt Krohn. “One of the most valuable things I learned while working for him was the details of designing a functional, proportional, and beautiful space.”
The rest as they say is history. Filzen has now worked in the building trades for about 17 years and specifically in the cabinet building sector for about 13.
“As challenging as it is, I decided to start the business because I gained great gratification for the finished product and the wow factor it brought to the homeowner when they walked into their new kitchen for the first time. As the business grows, I find myself in the office doing more of the design work and less on the shop floor, which is okay.
“The phone rings everyday for people inquiring about new projects, we never have a slow day. I have great guys on the shop floor that seem to be able to find a way to fabricate anything I put before them. We do very little advertising and most of our work comes in by word of mouth recommendations. My guys are always thinking about the processes and how to use lean principles to improve the work flow.”
Filzen Custom Hardwoods
830 6th Street
Nicollet, MN 56074
Phone: (507) 217-9631
Photo by Jonathan Smith