Dead Tree Society

Dead Tree Society

Wood from the Hood makes the most of doomed trees.

Money doesn’t grow on trees, unless you’re Rick and Cindy Siewert. The couple founded Minneapolis-based Wood from the Hood back in 2008 with a mission to repurpose discarded urban trees. Eight years later, they’ve turned their idea into a nearly seven-figure business.

Wood from the Hood (WFH) relies on tree donations for their wood stock, receiving about 100 a month, most donated from local residents and tree services—plus a contract with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Each log that arrives is tagged with ZIP code of origin.

With 30 years and counting working for his other family business, Siewert Cabinet & Fixture Manufacturing Inc., started by his father, Rick knows wood. “We work with anything sawable,” he says, which equates to “over 35 different species including ash, elm, sugar maple, hackberry and white oak.”

Wood from the Hood started by milling wood flooring, adding a line of retail products, lumber and custom design services over the years. According to Siewert, they receive requests for custom projects daily—a part of their business that accounts for roughly 75 percent of sales. Projects start at $500 and move upward to $50,000.

One project came from Summit Brewing Co. The brewery wanted to replicate a vintage-style bar from their beer hall for its new training room.

“They incorporated 10 different species into the bar, and really it was stunning,” says Mark Stutrud, Summit founder and president. “It’s more of a work of art than general carpentry.”

WFH’s retail products account for the remaining 25 percent of sales. Wood from the Hood’s products are sold online and in 21 retailers throughout the state, including Seward Community Co-op, Uptown Minnesota and Sweet Seasons in Alexandria. Items range from $5 to $340; cribbage boards and growth charts are top-sellers.

As WFH continues to experience consistent growth and success in the Twin Cities, franchise options are on the radar, say the Siewerts.