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Meet Alex Demopoulos and Aubrey Mims of Woodshop Wizards in Englewood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Demopoulos and Aubrey Mims.

Alex and Aubrey, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My dad and I started Woodshop Wizards about five years ago in San Diego. Our church had been looking for help teaching the church cub scouts how to build race cars for the pinewood derby that was coming up. One day after church my dad and I volunteered to help out since we had woodworking experience. After instructing a group of about ten cub scouts, a parent thought that we might be able to offer a program like this at schools as an after-school program. After looking into it, we found there was no program like this and Woodshop Wizards was born the upcoming school year.

Then in 2016 my girlfriend and I decided to bring Woodshop Wizards to Denver, Colorado with a goal to provide Woodworking to students and families in the community. We had learned that out of the 199 schools in the DPS only one school still offered woodshop, which was unfortunate. We started Woodshop Wizards in Denver by building wooden assembly kits in our garage and we did that for over a year before opening our shop. Next, we reached out to local elementary schools trying to find out if they offered any type of hands-on woodworking enrichment programs which they did not. After doing some research with families around our area, we found out that families loved the opportunity to have their children learn hands-on skills rather than being surrounded by screens for most of their day. We started at our first school with students in Kindergarten up to 6th grade and got great responses to the class!

Our mission was to be able to teach hands-on learning to as many students as possible through woodworking and allow them to discover a talent they never knew they were capable of! We are now teaching our program at 18 schools around Colorado and have opened up a classroom and woodshop in Englewood, Colorado.

At this location, we can make our projects in larger quantities as well as hold classes for home school students, kids and adults with disabilities, girl and boy scouts, birthday parties and anything else you could think of. We also host summer camps at the shop which is nice because we get to build more in-depth and bigger projects that aren’t always practical for school classrooms.

Our future goals and plans are to grow our get our program into as many hands as possible throughout Colorado. With so many families being homeschooled, we want to offer the program to more homeschooled families who do not have to opportunity to take enrichment classes at school. Furthermore, our goal is to bring on more team members in an effort to expand the program to more states.

Not all kids thrive in an academic setting because everyone learns differently and that’s ok. That’s why classes like woodshop are important for children. Woodshop provides kids with the opportunity to use their creative mind, hands-on learning and enthusiasm in a different type of setting. One of the best feelings is having homeroom teachers approach us about students who have previously struggled in the classroom that are now making great strides because woodshop provided them with the confidence they needed to excel. Sometimes all we need is a little boost in order to take off and we believe Woodshop Wizards is a great way to get that boost.

Has it been a smooth road?
There have been a few bumps along the way. One of the most difficult struggles is finding longterm part-time employees. Some of the time part-time workers inevitably leave to pursue their own passions and careers, which we admire and support. It does make things difficult in terms of our business growing since we need enough employees to start new schools as well as the time it takes to train our workers. Also, when we first came to Denver our shop was in our garage. All of our equipment and projects took up our entire space so we couldn’t park in the garage and that was a struggle in the winter, especially for Aubrey (my girlfriend) who is from Texas.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Woodshop Wizards – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
At the core, Woodshop Wizards is an After School Enrichment Class and Classroom that teaches woodworking to youths. While we teach woodworking to students, we specialize in allowing kids to find out that they have capabilities they never knew they had. Throughout the past, every student growing up learned carpentry and woodworking at school and at home. Nowadays, most children will never be introduced to it or see it in school. We come across some parents with concerns that their kids wont be able to handle using a hammer or be able to build things with wood since they haven’t done it before. Our program is designed for beginners and for those who already know the basics and want to learn more in-depth skills. Each time we assure them that they will be shocked when their child brings home an intricate, beautiful wooden project they created on their own.

One rule that we are proud of at Woodshop Wizards is not allowing parents to do all of the work for their child. During our in-house classes, some parents might want to sit down next to their child and build their entire project for them. While we won’t allow that, we will allow support and guidance while encouraging independent creativity that will result in a finished and thoughtful project.

We feel like our company is unique in the sense that you never know what you are going to see or experience in any given day. Since opening the office and shop, we feel more of a sense of structure and functionality with the space we now have. We allow for a lot of hands-on creativity with our students and it is amazing to see what these young minds can come up with. For instance, on our free-for-all work days, kids can build whatever they want and we are constantly blown away to see what kids as young as five years old come up with. It is a great sense of inspiration that a younger generation can get so passionate about working with their hands.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Denver is great and unique for many reasons. Aubrey and I love meeting new people at different events because there is such a strong mindset out here about small business. We have found that Colorado really appreciates small business which leads to everyone wanting to help each other out and it gives a strong sense of community. Denver is also a welcoming place for the creative mind. It’s cool to see the different types of creativity that come from all different kinds of people.

Because Denver is so great, it becomes a target for more and more people wanting to move here. I would say the traffic caused by this does make it tough on us and our employees traveling to classes. We used to be able to leave for a class 15 minutes before it started. Now we leave with around 30 minutes to spare.

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