Making custom kitchen items, with sustainable, locally found wood is Frank Hinck’s craft and he is sharing his talents with other White Bear Lake residents through his business, Walnut Street Woodworking (WSW).
While he was growing up on Long Island, N.Y., Hinck’s mother began teaching him the basics of woodworking in their garage in her spare time. After graduating college, Hinck put his skills to use working for Americorps with Habitat for Humanity while holding on to his dream of owning his own woodworking business. Hinck and his wife Nicole Banholzer, who doubles as his marketing and PR person for the business, moved to White Bear Lake over the summer and Hinck decided it was the right time to start the shop.
“It only took a week for him to set up his full woodshop, which was a dream he’s had for as long as I’ve known him,” Banholzer says.
All of the products are made sustainably, so the wood is found locally and repurposed into the finished designs WSW sells. Currently, Hinck is making cutting boards and boards for charcuterie, along with his personal favorite, coasters, which can be decorated with unlimited designs and created from so many different materials that they can be customized to enhance any space.
“[Coasters] make the perfect accent to a home. From a cup of coffee, or two or three--we did live in Seattle for several years--to a glass of wine, they’re really perfect for any lifestyle,” Banholzer says.
But Hinck won’t be stopping at coasters and cutting boards. He is working on other home goods such as jewelry boxes and serving trays, which will be available soon. He spends his weekends in the woodshop creating products. Hinck is always coming up with new designs that will catch the eye of people with different tastes, and encourages customers to buy them as gifts for friends and family.
“Whether it's a set of coasters to thank someone for hosting, or a cutting board as a housewarming or engagement gift, they really do make for a wonderful and personalized way to show someone you appreciate them,” Banholzer says.
While Hinck is busy in the woodshop, Banholzer runs all the marketing, PR and does the photography, since she has a solid foundation in these areas. Banholzer worked in corporate book publishing in New York City and Seattle, and she currently runs a children’s book publicity firm.
“It’s a natural fit for me since my entire career has been in publicity, and it’s fun to be a part of the business alongside Frank,” Banholzer says.
While the business is still growing, Hinck works as a construction project manager and regularly volunteers for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, since helping others is a crucial aspect of his life. Last year, WSW donated some of their cutting boards to silent auctions to help organizations raise funds. This year, they plan on donating a portion of their sales to local charities.
Hinck and Banholzer are always working to get to know their customers better and share their inspiration behind the business, so look out for WSW in local craft shops and events like Marketfest, says Banholzer.