From humble beginnings in Upstate New York to an untimely death to a courageous young son: read the story of Riverwood Cabins.

A Humble Journey

The story of our family business begins humble. In 1982, my mom and dad moved from Lancaster Pennsylvania to Dundee New York, a small town enveloped by the Finger Lakes. Mom grew up Amish. Dad was a Mennonite. He ran a small farm with his father, a master carpenter who built till the day he died at the ripe old age of 93. Young and pining to build a future for his family, dad began setting his sights on new frontiers.

Packing up his young wife and children along with a work ethic, and adventurous spirit that lives deep in the soul of all men, dad headed for the developing terrain of upstate New York and started building sheds. His vision was simple: sell directly to customers. Honestly. Personally. The way business should be done.

The winters were rough and the work started slow, but as the land kept growing, so did dad’s shed business. With every season of growth, he made sure to sow back into the community. Stories of him patching broken down buildings around town or going the extra mile to care for a worker’s family, have now become legend.

Twists & Turns in a Ford Ranger

People loved my dad. The whole community was shocked when, at the energetic age of 29, he came down with cancer. I remember driving to work with him during those years in his tan Ford Ranger, a car he was beyond proud of. He asked me on one of those rides what I would think if he ever sold Woodtex. I was 9 years old, but even then, I couldn’t fathom it. The business was life. It gave people shelter. It gave people space. It gave people opportunity.

Dad fought his disease for 7 long years. He passed away at 36. Just a few days after his funeral, Mom summoned up all the courage she had and assumed responsibility for the business. The woman surprised us all. She was phenomenal. From 1994 to 2004 she ran a thriving business, raised four kids and somehow made it all look easy.

A New Frontier

As a son, I couldn’t be more proud of my parents. After graduating high school in 2002, I went straight to work at Woodtex, eventually taking over the company in 2004. That’s when we made a decision. We saw a growing cabin market begin to emerge; a new generation of folks who want a special space to pursue their passions and make memories together. We didn’t have to dig far to rediscover our Mennonite roots stretching with a love and pride for exceptional craftsmanship and a reverence for the land. It was clear this was our future. We expanded our suite of shed offerings and launched Riverwood Cabins, a collection of exceptional consumer cabins for the adventurer in us all.

Perhaps it’s my father’s adventurous spirit in me, but in 2006 we decided to take another big risk and offer these cabins to customers beyond our Northeast homestead. We started introducing our Riverwood product line along with the sheds my dad was known for to southern markets like Texas and Tennessee. Dad always believed in providing good jobs and a good environment for hardworking people. This was an opportunity to do that for more folks than ever before.

Today, we’re carrying on that adventurous streak that brought my young parents to a brand new frontier more than 30 years ago in the products we’re building for our customers. It’s my deep hope that in everything we do, we help you find that same spirit to explore whatever frontiers you imagine.


~Kent Lapp