Magic City Woodworks began in Lawrence Sheffield’s one-car garage in 2013 with only a few tools and a dream. After meeting several young men just two years earlier who faced extreme employment barriers, he was inspired to take the first step in a venture that would change their lives - and his - forever.
Lawrence, a full-time firefighter in Birmingham, Alabama, found that many young men in the city were asking the same question after high school that often paralyzed instead of propelled: “What should I do next?” Rather than allowing them to become discouraged about the future, Lawrence created an avenue for those young men to pursue meaningful employment.
Magic City Woodworks, a social impact company, is built on a three-pillar approach: to train, equip, and invest in the lives of young men who need it most. They do this by teaching apprentices woodshop skills and enabling them to build products they can be proud of, including cutting boards, coasters, desk organizers, and even custom furniture. Not only can the men admire their work - they also get to make a living by it.
The young apprentices are able to sell their creations to customers who Lawrence says love the products, not only for their beauty and quality, but because they know that their money is allowing someone the opportunity to find their true calling.
In addition to woodworking skills, each you man is given high caliber life-skills training by Lawrence and his team. Their investment in each apprentice grows fellowship and camaraderie that lays the foundation for success.
Since its humble beginnings, Magic City Woodworks has expanded to a large workshop in the heart of downtown and continues to serve the young men of Birmingham. The business is a glimpse into what Southern Culture truly is, which in Lawrence’s words, is all about coming together and taking care of each other.