South Bend Woodworks creates unique Notre Dame merchandise
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- You may have seen some of South Bend Woodworks' handcrafted pieces at the Notre Dame bookstore. The company, started by a Notre Dame graduate, aims to create the highest quality toys, gifts, signs and more for Irish fans.
Mike Lindburg says he started South Bend Woodworks in 2013 as a way to give back to the community he now calls home.
Lindburg, who graduated in 1971, met his wife while attending Notre Dame.
They returned to South Bend a few years ago when they retired.
“I don’t play bridge and I don’t play golf, so I needed something to do," Lindburg said. “I decided I would start a company that would employ people.”
South Bend Woodworks opened its doors in 2013. Today he has 12 employees who work to whittle wood into works of art.
“This is a little kid’s foot stool. This one was personalized with the kid’s name on it," said employee Don Troxel. “We sell a lot of these.”
A good portion of their products celebrate his alma mater, the University of Notre Dame.
“Now we have 25 or 30 different items for Notre Dame that happen to be really unique. You can’t get them anywhere else," Lindburg said.
It’s not easy to snag the university’s licensing but Lindburg says his products managed to impress Notre Dame early on.
“He came over and he looked at 25 or 30 little samples that’d we’d done. And he finally said, ‘I’m surprised.’ And I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘This stuff is really good. I want to introduce you to the bookstore,’” Lindburg said. “That was the beginning.”
The university's green light meant they could sell their one of a kind Notre Dame ornaments, trains and more - at the campus bookstore - and all over the country.
“There’s nothing wrong with t-shirts, or a hat. I’ve got a hat, ok? But there comes a point in time when maybe you’ve got too many t-shirts and too many hats. But if you look over at the Notre Dame [symbol] and the shamrock that are behind me here, they are really interesting and cool kinds of things. We make them. And they’ll last a long time," Lindburg said.
Much like the Irish players, Lindburg says at his shop, it’s a team effort.
“It’s a group of people who take great pride in what they do," Lindburg said. “We have a lot of fun because we like what we make and that helps. And we make things we’re proud of.”
He says he’s grateful he gets to share his passion for the blue and gold through these timeless pieces that will live on for generations to come.