Keystone Wood Specialties marks 50th anniversary
January 5, 2022 | 9:17 am CST
Nick Stoltzfus, president Keystone Wood Specialties

Current Keystone Wood Specialties president Nick Stoltzfus is looking to the future as the company founded by his father, Sam Stoltzfus, celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Keystone Wood Specialties has come a long way from the S.D. Stoltzfus Cabinet Shop founded in 1972.

That one-man cabinetmaking operation founded by Samuel D. Stoltzfus featured him in the shop making everything except the doors, which he outsourced. His father, brothers and a friend would install the finished kitchens. Today, the company that became Keystone Wood Specialties in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, makes a comprehensive line of cabinetry components for customers across the country with production out of a 60,000-square-foot plant operated by 75 employees.

Keystone original cabinet shop
Keystone Wood Specialties was founded by Samuel D. Stoltzfus in 1972 under the original company name of S.D. Stoltzfus Cabinet Shop.

The path from a one-man shop to a major manufacturer wasn’t a straight line. In 1975, Sam began making his own cabinet doors and the name changed to Keystone Custom Kitchens. Two years later, he saw an opportunity to grow into manufacturing cabinet components and stopped making cabinets altogether. 

Sam Stoltzfus in his original one-man shop
Sam Stoltzfus in his original one-man shop where ironically he built everything for kitchens except the doors, which he outsourced. His father and brothers installed the kitchens he built.

Sam Stoltzfus died in 2020, but he previously described the transition from kitchens to components. “That was a big switch,” he said, “because it was like starting all over again. It was tough going for a couple years, to bring everything to the quality level we wanted.” 

Along the way, Keystone was recognized for its business practices and leadership.
•    From 1996 to 1998, Sam served as president of the Wood Products Manufacturers Association.
•    In 2003, the company became SHARP certified, and was awarded as one of the Safest Companies in America in 2005. 
•    In 2006, Sam Stoltzfus was honored for his hard work and dedication when he received the woodworking industry’s prestigious Jerry Metz award that recognizes four areas of excellence in manufacturing that its namesake was known for: safety, training, quality, and productivity. 
•    In 2020, Nick Stoltzfus was named to the Wood Industry 40 Under 40 List.

Keystone owners at IWF in 2018
Keystone Wood Specialties exhibiting at IWF in 2018. Pictured are Keystone owners Elaine and Sam Stoltzfus – first row, 2nd and 3rd from the right. Sam Stoltzfus died in December 2020.

As 2020 drew to a close, Keystone experienced a major shift with the death of founder and president Sam. Sam’s son Nick Stoltzfus took on the role of president in 2021. 

“As Keystone, along with everyone in our industry, was dealing with the impacts of the pandemic, we were also grieving the loss of our founder and president and finding our path forward through transition in leadership,” said Nick. “My dad built the foundation of this company on his strong work ethics, values and beliefs, and I credit our employees’ dedication to those founding principles with our ability to navigate the past two years. Thanks to the perseverance and hard work of our team and the loyal support of our customers, 2021 turned into one of our most successful years to date.”

Keystone Wood Specialties 2021
Keystone Wood Specialties’ current 60,000 square-foot wood components manufacturing facility in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is staffed by 75 employees.

Looking ahead, Nick points to a number of initiatives to drive Keystone into a successful future.
•    Keystone launched the Essentials Laminate Collection featuring laminate cabinet doors, drawer fronts and flexible laminate veneer in 2021, which it plans to grow in the coming years. 
•    The company is implementing continuous process improvement strategies across all areas of production, with a new a manufacturing engineer on staff to lead that effort.
•    Keystone is investing in new equipment and technology to increase product quality and customer satisfaction.

However, in Nick’s opinion, one of the most important things Keystone has done to prepare the company for the future is to develop a company Purpose Statement: To help people find enjoyment in their work.

“In the Bible in the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon comes to this conclusion, ‘There is nothing better for a person than he should eat, and drink and find enjoyment in his toil,’” quoted Nick. “I believe Keystone can offer this opportunity to our employees and help our customers and vendors also find enjoyment in their work through their relationships with us. All of our actions and decisions will be guided by this Purpose of helping people find enjoyment in their work.”

“The reality is that my father started Keystone 50 years ago with that same thinking,” said Nick. “And it will continue to lead us through the next 50 years.”

Samuel D. Stoltzfus, shown in 2006, was the founder and CEO of Keystone Wood Specialties. He died December 10, 2020, at the age of 69.

Keystone Wood Specialties Inc. continues to be a family-owned wholesale manufacturer of wood components serving the custom cabinet, furniture, and remodeling industries. For more about the company, visit

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About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.