For the past 17 years, Eric Johnson has operated Authentic Builders out of his home. Recently, he opened up a showroom at 1524 Farwell St., McFarland, so people could look at models of his custom Amish kitchens. The name on the showroom â Custom Amish Kitchens and More â describes exactly what people can expect to find in the retail space.
He said many people are sold on the cabinets and millwork done by the Amish builder Johnson works with once they see it, but the only way potential clients could get a good look at the woodwork was to visit one of the homes Johnson worked on. This prompted the decision to open the showroom.
At the Farwell Street storefront, there are three kitchen remodels with examples of cabinets and countertops so customers can see the quality of the handmade millwork. Also on display is a vanity and cubby for storing coats, winter accessories, and shoes and boots. In the future, Johnson plans to showcase tables and chairs.
âI have a builder thatâs amazing at just how precise he is, how his finishing is â itâs so smooth with the wood and the sanding â and how he stains things. Iâve compared my cabinets to other custom cabinets, and I have not found someone that can match the quality that we put in to a kitchen,â he said, adding the customers like the fact Authentic Builders charges roughly 15-25 percent less compared with other custom cabinet dealers.
Johnson works with an Amish builder for all of his pieces. The two met when Johnson visited Amish cabinet shops while remodeling his previous home in Mount Horeb.
âHis work was just head and shoulders above everyone else,â Johnson said.
The pair discusses the design through letters or the Amish man goes to someoneâs home to call Johnson.
âHe understands what Iâm looking for without having to have a very detailed drawing on what it needs to look like,â Johnson said.
While Johnson designs and installs the new pieces as a licensed general contractor, he hires outside companies for any other necessary work like electrical, plumbing, drywalling and painting.
Johnson also remodels basements, bathrooms and other rooms.
Johnson enjoys the entire process from designing the project with the customer to demoing and installing.
The reason he continues carpentry is the satisfaction of seeing the smile on his customerâs face.
âJust how they light up,â Johnson said.âI have one customer from five or six years ago, and when she sees me at the grocery store, she tells me, âEvery time I come down in the morning to get my coffee, I just smile when I see my kitchen.ââ
The showroom is open by appointment only; appointments can be made by calling Johnson at 513-1528 or contacting him on his website, www.authenticbuilders.com.