Pursuing a Passion

Brad Bernhart turned his love of woodworking into a full-time job with a loan from Montana & Idaho CDC.

Earlywood Designs

1 of 22 Rural loans in 2013

1 Employee turned business owner

Brad Bernhart of Red Lodge, Montana, started woodworking as a hobby in college. Getting out in the shop and creating something as beautiful as it was useful was a way to blow off steam from his demanding class schedule.

After Brad graduated with a degree in engineering, he kept up with the woodworking. His handcrafted kitchen utensils were so popular with friends and family, they suggested he start making enough to sell. Before long, Brad dreamed of turning his side business into his full-time job. 

The banks kept telling Brad he needed to keep his day job as an engineer, but he knew he wanted to pursue his passion. Because Earlywood was a startup and he didn't have much collateral, Brad didn't qualify for a loan at a bank. He came to Montana & Idaho CDC, and we gave him a loan. He also works closely with our business advisors to understand his financials. Now Brad is his own boss, doing the thing that makes him happiest full time.