HALSEY — Andy Schukis was looking to get a little more credit for his work.
Schukis, 46, had been building cabinets and providing carpentry skills at various shops in the mid-valley for a little over seven years when he decided it was time to branch out.
“I was tired of being the guy who did the work but didn’t get much credit,” said Schukis, who has operated Country Cabinets in Halsey since 1995. “It was just time to go out on my own.”
He carved his niche at the family dairy farm, where he eventually took over one of the main milk stations, refitting it for his woodwork.
“We moved the hay out and us in,” Schukis said. “Once my parents sold the dairy we turned it around with a bit of a remodel.”
They put in the concrete floor on 9/11, watching the drama of that day unfold on a television that a neighbor brought in.
“It was an incredible day,” said Schukis’ wife, Shauna. “The work helped us all get through it.”
Before long Schukis had turned the 2,800-square-foot barn, an original homestead barn, into a spacious work site. New insulation, a dust collector and a new ceiling greeted equipment that Schukis was able to secure at auction and through dealers around the Northwest.
There were additions to the space to make room for the various saws and drills he uses in his custom work.
All of Country Cabinets’ work is custom. Schukis does his own design work on the computer and the shop does all of its own moldings. Nothing is shopped out.
As expected, the shop specializes in cabinetry and is licensed for both residential and commercial work.
Schukis has designed lockers and cabinets for Oregon State athletics including the men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms and women’s volleyball. His woodwork is also a part of Vault 244 and Cascade Grill in Albany.
Installation is handled by Schukis, sometimes with help from Hank Crabtree, who has been working at Country Cabinets for 11 years.
Schukis says he works with all wood types. Countertops, bookcases, entertainment centers and even custom trim work are offered.
His wife handles the bookwork and ordering and helps maintain a website that works as an online showroom. She says she’s the “office manager.”
Schukis grew up in Halsey on the farm his grandparents homesteaded some 76 years ago. His father still lives across the road.
Although he worked on the dairy, his interest in working with wood started in high school. He won several awards at Central Linn and skills events at Linn-Benton Community College. After graduation in 1984 he earned an associate degree at Lane Community College in construction technology.
“What I do now grew out of that,” he said. “I’ve always been drawn to this work. It’s what I wanted to do.”
There have been tough times, but Schukis sees that turning around. He relied on remodel work for much of the last three years but in June things began to change favorably.
“I think it’s turning around. We’ve been busy working with builders,” he said. “I believe new construction is taking off.”
The majority of Schukis’ work is in the mid-valley but he has traveled to other parts of the state as well. Still, Linn and Benton counties are his bread and butter.
The shop is open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Friday from 7 to 11. He is also available by appointment. Country Cabinets is located at 25992 Powerline Road in Halsey. Customers can call 888-458-2595. for information or go online to www.countrycabinetshalsey.com.