Custom Woodwork That Lasts a Lifetime

In a world that uses social media to communicate, where you don’t always know what to believe, some hidden gems are just known by their good reputation.

Joe Zehr, co-owner with his brother, Jesse, of Zehr’s Custom Cabinets & Manufacturing, in Auburn, Ind., is a third-generation family business owner. They’re also local farmers. Zehr’s doesn’t have a website, a Facebook page, or an X (formerly Twitter) account.

When it comes to advertising his custom-made doors, cabinets, stairways, wood trim, shelves, mantels, wood beams and other woodwork for the interior of a home (other than furniture), Joe’s precision craftsmanship speaks for itself. His customers are more than happy to spread the word, because quality work and great customer service are his specialties.

“We are a one-stop shop and still build things the old-fashioned way with quality construction,” he says. “Everything we do is made from scratch, from measuring and designing to getting the raw lumber and making the finished product. Our end goal is always a happy customer. If we make mistakes, we fix them.”

Patty Kelley is one satisfied customer.

She and her husband are the owners of another family business, Kelley’s Automotive dealerships, in Indiana. She is also the owner of Kelley Design Works. The couple recently built a lake home in Syracuse, Ind., where Zehr’s did all the cabinets, doors, beds, ceiling beams and trim work. The couple has worked with Zehr’s for more than 15 years, after asking someone for a referral to build custom cabinets. Since then, they have used Zehr’s for several homebuilding projects and have referred many family members and friends.

As a designer, Kelley has an eye for what will work where and has come up with many unique ideas that Zehr’s has always been able to construct, she says.

“Joe and his family are just great people,” she says. “He is as honest and hard-working as the day is long, and he does a great job. I can take in a picture of something unusual and he can make it.

“When you work with them, you work with only them,” she continues. “They don’t send you off to someone else for anything. They are extremely easy to work with, flexible if you change your mind about something, which I have often done, and they are competitively priced.”

Joe works within any customer’s budget and uses a wide variety of woods, from soft and hard hickory to white oak, red oak, walnut and more. The trends he sees are plain, clean lines in cabinetry, in addition to many customers wanting painted wood, customized colors and a clean finish. He also makes matching pieces to go with existing woodwork or furniture in a home, if needed.

All of Zehr’s projects are made of solid wood and have dovetail joints, in addition to other details that go into a high-quality, sturdy, durable product that stands the test of time.
“Our business has grown mainly by word of mouth. We have never run out of work, even during the pandemic and other economically slow times. Our business is about building personal relationships, referrals and repeat customers,” Joe says.

Zehr’s opened in 1990 and grew from a three-man shop in a house garage to a business that now employs 25 people, including an installation crew, across two large buildings: one 12,000-square-foot workshop and one 20,000-square-foot showroom.

“Our cabinets will last a lifetime if you take care of them,” Joe says.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (260) 740-9042 or (260) 627-0171 or email [email protected].