Challenge Program Furniture

A New Facility for Challenge Program Furniture

We’ve come a long way since our start in the winter of 2014.

Challenge Program Furniture (Challenge Program’s Employment Social Enterprise) started with a bucket of hand-tools, a Truman-era sander and a few machines (like our jointer-planer) the Smithsonian would be proud to display.

Challenge Program Furniture's current woodshop crowded with new customer projects and tools

Business was slow at first—the odd table and bookshelf. Then restaurants came calling, and a few pieces at a time became dozens.  Office and boardroom fit-outs followed..  Along the way, we gained new tools, new team members, considerable learning and growing confidence.

Lamar, one of the Challenge Program Furniture trainees, sanding shelves in our current shop

By 2018 we were busting at the seams and turning away business. It was time for a new shop. So we bought and remediated a brownfield two doors down (1136 E. 7th Street) and we asked our friends at Digsau Architects to design a manufacturing facility that our trainees could help build – as they had done with our beloved CTEC (Challenge Program Construction Training and Education Center) next door.

We are excited to announce that we have raised the timber frame on a new 14,000 square foot facility expected to open in spring 2022.

Above - raising the timber frame; Below - the frame is up!

The new facility will triple our current space and house wood and metalworking shops as well as offices and a showroom. Most importantly, it will allow us to expand training and employment opportunities for our Challenge Program alums, with all proceeds from furniture sales reinvested in the program.



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