Created in the Corridor: Silver Brothers Construction
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) —
Those who labor with their hands for a living know the meaning of hard work and the many rewards that come with it. One small family operation is passing along those rewards from generation to generation with what they’ve Created in the Corridor.
The Silver brothers describe the silver linings of seven day work weeks: “You know, you look around here and you got a big, flat pile of lumber and in a few days it’s somebody’s kitchen,” says company founder Mike Silver. “There is not one job that is exactly the same as the last one,” adds younger brother Alex. Nephew Dylan says, “You know when you see the look on people’s faces on something you did and created, that’s a pretty big reward.”
And so, Silver Brothers Construction creates almost anything you can image: custom slide-away shelving for shoes and clothing, towering stove vent hoods, beautiful bars and cabinetry--work that started in the mid 90’s after Mike and Alex served their country in the Marines. “We started framing houses because I always thought it was neat,” says Mike. “You go up and you got a big package of lumber and nothing else there…two weeks later you got a shell of a home.”
Carpentry is a craft inspired by their grandfather who took the brothers along on job sites when they were kids. “I just remember being upset if I didn’t get to go that day,” recalls Mike. Alex has fond memories as well. “He was somebody I looked up to and I always will.”
Now, they’re honoring their grandfather’s legacy with large log tables and custom rustic railings that add character to Bauer’s Twin Pines Retreat in Wisconsin, the owner of which has been friends with Mike for years. “He loves getting creative. That is what makes him go, I think. Doing something that no one else is doing and doing it in a different way,” explains Roger Bauer.
“We’ve done some stuff in Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois,” Mike says humbly.
But it was the 2008 flood that brought work that really mattered. The Silver brothers rebuilt homes in Cedar Rapids as part of Matthew 25’s Block by Block program. And the partnership continues as the ministry works to remodel its new headquarters on 3rd Avenue SW, a historic building constructed in the 1920’s. “They can take woodwork and make it do just amazing things,” says Matthew 25’s Executive Director, Clint Twedt-Ball. “They have the gifts and skills that a lot of us would consider having been lost over the years. They’re still able to do kind of that custom cabinetry work, it’s pretty special.”
Mike’s son, Dylan, learned the trade the same way his father and uncle did. “The first time I was out on a job site I think I was about seven,” remembers Dylan. No college, but a lot of grit and inspiration from dad. “There was a period of years there where all I did was research and learn,” says Mike. “I mean, even down to basic tool techniques. (I’m) kind of a tool nerd, I guess.”
And there are no regrets because this family knows college is not for everyone. “Don’t be ashamed to not go, Dylan advises. “If you don’t think it’s for you, go to work and see how it goes for ya. There’s plenty of work out there right now and a shortage of people in this trade.”
Besides, says Uncle Alex, isn’t life a classroom? “My grandfather told me one time, even after he was a carpenter for 32 years, he learned something new every day. So, the day that I stop learning something new every day I will hang up my tool belt.”
Whether it’s carpentry, plumbing, electrical or other building trades, there are several apprenticeship programs in the Corridor that teach valuable life-long skills that pay well. You can find resources HERE and more information about Silver Brothers Construction HERE.