Today’s hi-five goes out to Hardenbrook Hardwoods. For the past five years, Eric Hardenbrook has been donating gorgeous cutting boards to each of our new homeowners. These beautiful pieces welcome our families into their homes and are instant heirlooms for their new kitchens.

Eric started Hardenbrook Hardwoods as a career renewal, or a “do-over” as he called it, after twenty years in homebuilding. The idea was sparked from the gifts he received during his first career - tokens of appreciation and swag from realtors, mortgage lenders, etc. They were great, but Eric often felt they were missing a personal touch. As he says, the reason behind giving a gift is to make a lasting impact or impression. So Eric took his love of woodworking, knowledge of the industry, and the idea that he could create something unique to his company in a format that someone would enjoy keeping in their home for years, and his cutting boards were born.

We started working with Eric when his son, a project manager with our building partner Hayden Homes, connected us. But Eric knew of First Story long before then and loved the idea, culture of giving, and overall atmosphere of both Hayden Homes and First Story. When the opportunity arose to give back through First Story, he was happy to do “what little bit we can as a young company to participate and help.” He also said that while his cutting boards “may not have a huge economic impact, they are able to provide large emotional value” and we couldn’t agree with him more. When we welcome a family into their new home, Eric’s personalized cutting board is the first thing to greet them and really solidifies the feeling that they've arrived home.

Outside of First Story, community involvement is still very important to Eric. He and his family moved from the Springfield area around thirty years ago when his church approached him and a few other young families to start a new branch in Bend. Since then, Eric has had the immense joy of seeing this tight community grow, thrive, and support each other through good times and bad. Eric’s would tell anyone trying to get more involved to “just do it” and if your first attempt isn’t a good fit, keep trying because the rewards far outweigh the work.

Thank you, Eric and Hardenbrook Hardwoods for all you do!