OakCraft gives back

Dan Spitler and his wife, Pam, stand with children at a school they sponsor in Cambodia. Spitler owns OakCraft cabinetry in Peoria.

Local business owner Dan Spitler, 63, has seen some rough patches in the road. The president of a cabinetry business, he saw firsthand how the downturn in the economy and housing crash took a toll on his business. However, through perseverance and smart business decisions, Spitler has not only managed to keep his head above water, but he and his wife continue to give back to the community through their philanthropic endeavors.

Spitler is president of OakCraft cabinetry company, 7733 W. Olive Ave. Having been involved in his family’s business more than two decades, Spitler takes pride in his business’ commitment to satisfying customer needs while providing the best in quality products, craftsmanship, and service.

“It’s a bit unusual for a company our size to still be family-owned and operated, as most of the companies we compete against are divisions of large holding companies, or publicly held companies,” Spitler said.

Spitler’s company is the largest cabinet manufacturer in Arizona with more than 200 employees.

“We survived the housing crisis by reinventing ourselves a few times,” he said.

Spitler said he and his team were more than a year into the recession when they realized this was not going to be a normal Arizona “adjustment” like they had seen several times over the years.

“We had to initiate layoffs for the first time in our history,” he said. “We cut costs, expanded our marketing efforts into surrounding states and began expanding our product lines to appeal to a larger market segment.”

OakCraft provides cabinetry to large Arizona homebuilders such as Toll Brothers, Shea Homes, Robson Communities, Blanford Homes, and Dorn Homes. However, the company has also expanded its network of higher-end cabinet dealers, offering custom and semi-custom cabinetry along with a large selection of custom products that include entertainment centers, bookshelves, computer desks, ceiling beams, and other specialty wood products.

Aside from running a successful business, the Spitlers also make giving back to the community and world around them a priority. Spitler and his wife, Pam, both serve as active members in the Kiwanis Club of Phoenix. The pair loves to travel when they aren’t working and have managed to visit more than 60 countries, as well as visit all of the seven continents. So, it came as no surprise when the idea of establishing a school overseas arose; the Spitlers wished to build it.

The Spitler School was founded in Cambodia in 2005 by Spitler and his wife. The school was pleased to announce and celebrate the program’s second graduation. A total of 46 students were graduated from the sixth grade. Students who graduate are supplied with a bicycle, two school uniforms, and the necessary pens, pencils, and notebooks that are required for them to succeed in their studies.

As more funds become available, the children are given dental care, tutoring assistance, bicycle repairs, and incentives for good attendance and academic achievement.

For more information about OakCraft, Spitler, or the school in Cambodia, call 623-412-1901, or visit www.oakcraftinc.com. For more information on the Spitler School and how you can help, visit www.spitlerschool.org/ or call 623-412-1901.