THE WOOD EXPERTS

BY SCOTT D. ELINGBURG | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

Jake and Glenn Elliott, owners of Elliott Brothers WoodWorks, have woodworking covered. And, after 10 years running their co-owned family business, their combined knowledge and commitment has resulted in a decade’s worth of success.

“We stay in business because we place the customer first,” Glenn Elliott says. “Scheduling is everything in the flooring business. If we tell you we will be there on Monday, we’ll be there on Monday.”

“And we do what we say we are going to do,” Jake Elliott adds. “Providing great customer service is the backbone to our business.”

That type of business standard may sound obvious, but put into practice, the two brothers have built a thriving enterprise out of what originally could have been a disastrous situation.

In 2008, after the market crash and the recession, Glenn and Jake left a faltering company to create their own, opting for a much leaner business plan. It was a tough time to be starting a new business, but the Elliott brothers made it work by cutting out overhead and focusing on a single product and craft: wood flooring.

“We focused more and more on flooring and provided the services that go with it—installation and finishing,” Glenn says. “As our company grew, we branched out into specialty woods and custom woodworking projects. We have great relationships with lumber mills and wholesalers, which enable us to provide high quality at low prices.”

“We’ve operated since 2008 with no showroom, no advertising and no website—just word of mouth,” Jake says. But in 2018, the company has come into its own.

Today, Elliott Brothers has a showroom where interior designers, architects and homeowners can put their hands on the products.

And the business is expanding to offer custom furniture, reclaimed wood projects and restoration work. The brothers have even expanded into other geographical areas, including Hilton Head, Beaufort, Bluffton, Columbia and Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. All of this in addition to residential and commercial projects for notable businesses such as Celadon Home, Style Exchange Couture, Hibernian Hall and Westbrook Brewery.

Elliott Brothers’ first custom project, 25 to 30 tables for the restaurant On Forty One in Mount Pleasant, brought positive feedback and referrals from patrons. Now Glenn and Jake take calls for even more custom projects, many using reclaimed materials, like barn beams, barn siding and commercial structures from throughout the United States.

Some of their most interesting work is wood floor restoration, a frequent request in Charleston. “Many houses downtown date back to the 1800s, and many have been sitting vacant,” Glenn says. “Some haven’t had a roof on them for years. The rain has gotten in, the floor is in rough shape, or there’s termite damage. Once these things are fixed, we redo the floors.”

Fixing the damage often involves identifying a unique piece of wood to match an entire floor.

“We identify when the floor was first produced and match it,” Glenn says. “We replace the damaged boards, then refinish the entire floor.” To put it briefly, the Elliott Brothers are wood historians.

“We can size up a floor pretty easily now,” Glenn admits.

There’s a unique bond between the two brothers. The origin of that bond becomes clear once you know they have been playing beach volleyball together for years. (Jake, who was on a professional volleyball tour, coaches at the College of Charleston.) It seems they are successful partners on the court and in life.

“Jake and I have always been friends,” Glenn says. “We work well together on the court, and in business.”

In a job that demands teamwork, partnership and communication, Glenn and Jake have all of those qualities in spades. But, at the end of the job, it all comes down to customer satisfaction.

“When we see how happy the customers are with the work we do,” Jake says, “when they’re excited and want to tell other people about it … that gives us all a good feeling.”

Scott D. Elingburg is a Charleston-based freelance writer.