Founded in 1995 by cabinetmakers Jim Elliker and Kerry Barnes, Elliker became president of the company and moved to Sparks in 2000 to supplement its expansion. From then until 2015, the business has had steady growth, taking on more challenging projects and growing its staff from 30 employees to 100.
Although the beloved co-founder passed away in a plane crash in August 2016, the business is still going strong.
“The business is thriving, which is a testament to what Jim did,” says Koehn.
“We operate at a high level of trust and Jim really set that up,” Cook adds. “Our growth has been incredible.”
Producing high-end custom commercial architecture woodwork, Victory Woodworks has built staircases, wall paneling, and bars in major developments all over California and Nevada. Some of its current projects include integrating its woodwork into a new Ritz-Carlton lakeside building in Kings Beach, California and redesigning the Sportsbook at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe. The company has also done woodwork for Dolan Lexus in Reno, 399 Fremont in San Francisco, and helped remodel the Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
“We usually do woodwork that’s integral to the space,” says Koehn. “We pride ourselves on challenging projects, ones that no one else could do easily,” he adds.
Over the last 20 years Victory Woodworks has completed thousands of projects ranging from $5,000 to $10 million. The majority of its work is done in California and Nevada, but they have worked with clients as far as New York and Florida as well. At least 100 clients are repeat customers and they rely on word-of-mouth and its stellar reputation to keep its clients coming back.
“We do what we say, keep our promises, and meet deadlines- which is surprisingly hard to do in this industry,” says Koehn. “And we do that 100 percent of the time.”
Personally, Koehn says his favorite project was a jewelry store at The Palazzo. “It was a high-end project with complicated elements (metal and glass mixed in with the woodwork); fast-paced with a tight schedule,” he says. He said it took two months to complete from signing the contract to its launch.
“We can take on different projects and do them fast,” says Cook. “We’re all overachievers, so we look for those projects where we can push ourselves.”
Cook grew up in Sparks and has worked at Victory Woodworks for the last 17 years, dabbling in every department. Many employees have been with the company for a decade or longer, and around 100 of Victory’s clients are repeat customers. Completely reliant on employee and client referrals, Victory Woodworks number one goal is to keep employees happy.
“We want every employee to say that Victory is the best place to work,” says Koehn. “We treat them and compensate them well, and provide full benefits,” he adds. Cook says that they host quarterly and regular events including Cupcake Thursdays, Hot Dog Fridays, and offer daily popcorn and soda in its corporate office breakroom. The breakroom also features games including a handmade shuffle board table and wooden Cornhole beanbag toss.
“We expect a lot out of our employees, so this is our way of giving back,” says Koehn. “Our team is more than willing to do what it takes to get the job done,” says Koehn. “Everyone is super motivated. If we ask our team to come in on a Saturday to make a deadline, 15 people will show up. We want to showcase our employees, that’s why we’re here.”