Mandy Simpson and Daren Sumrow

Mandy and Daren, the husband-and-wife team behind NOLA Woodworking, are proof that entrepreneurs can transform communities through their craft. Daren is a U.S. Navy veteran with over 20 years of construction experience and a love for restoring and creating incredible woodwork. In 2014, he opened NOLA Woodworking and their sister company NOLA Boards. Mandy left her career soon after to help Daren expand their growing business, which now ranges from custom construction to beautiful cutting boards. The company, located in the upper 9th ward of New Orleans, is passionate about restoration, refurbishment and crafting new designs.  “It started out as a small scale business but after I came into the picture we realized that we could really grow this,” Mandy said. The duo went through the Getting Down to Business program by Capital One and received counseling services from the Small Business Development Center. After the graduation and consultation, through a LiftFund business loan the couple moved their home-based business into a warehouse and increased their woodworking supplies and project capabilities. Today, the company employs nine full-time employees and two contractors. “We are here to leave our mark and give back,” said Mandy