Made in the Northwest: Built by Ernie

Ernest Everitt, who was born with Cerebral Palsy, started his company, Built by Ernie, in 2015.

SPOKANE, Wash. – Ernest Everitt started woodworking at a young age, learning from his dad and brother. They taught him the importance of hard work and that he shouldn’t let his disability keep him from being productive.

Ernie was born with Cerebral Palsy, so the 49-year-old is confined to a wheelchair.

He’d tried to find a job, but says a lot of companies wouldn’t hire him. In 2015, the windstorm blew down the fence at his home in E. Spokane, but he managed to turn bad fortune into opportunity.

On his website, he explains, “I thought, since I had to put up a new fence, why throw away the extra pieces of good wood? That’s when I started out by making kids tables, chairs, flower boxes and knick-knack boxes.”

And with that, Built by Ernie was born. He now makes all kinds of wood signs, home decor and other products made from wood. Toby’s Battery and Auto Electric has one of Ernie’s signs on display outside of its shop in E. Spokane.

Even though the price of wood has gone up recently, Ernie says he won’t raise his prices because he believes in giving people a honest and fair price.

In a few weeks, Built by Ernie’s work will be on display at the Spokane County Interstate Fair, where he hopes to make a lot of sales and continue to spread the word about his business.

And he’s even planning to hold another food drive soon. He says was brought up to believe that if you’re able to help people in need, you should.

It’s another important lesson he learned from his family that’s serving him well all these years later.