Evan Bartholomew Class of 2001(right)
Class of 2003 (left)
By Gloria Kobayashi
Evan and Levi Bartholomew own and operate Jay’s Custom Cabinets together as partners with their father, Jay Bartholomew. Their older brother, Kyle, works part time and Kainoa Correa is another full-time employee. Their mom, Cindy, also works at the shop, making this a truly family-owned and run enterprise. They create custom cabinets out of different woods including maple, oak, cherry, pecan, walnut and even a few more exotic woods. They also make cabinets out of rigid thermo foil (a type of laminate), which come in different simulated woods. Jay’s Custom Cabinets also installs cabinets for Home Depot’s Hilo office. In addition to cabinet building, the company fabricates solid-surface countertops from Corian, Hi-Macs, Gibraltar or Staron. In the last six months, they have become an installer for Silestone, a countertop made from quartz. Their father started the cabinet business 18 years ago as a way to bring in some needed extra income. The business has grown so much that they built a new warehouse with offices and showroom in the Shipman Industrial Park in Keaau.
While attending UH Hilo, Evan started working at a countertop business and learned the skill of making countertops. He, Levi and his father decided to add countertops to the cabinet business and formed a partnership. Evan graduated from UHH with a B.A. in Communications with a minor in Business Administration. He said that college helped him to hone his problem solving skills, deal with stress and deadlines, and to think creatively. He recommends basic math and geometry as the main classes that are needed to learn this trade.
Levi began classes at UH Hilo, but soon found out that school was not what he wanted, so he began to work full time with his dad and brother and became involved in the partnership. Previously, he had been working part time and said that it took him about two years to really learn the trade. By then he felt that he had developed into a professional cabinetmaker as well as a countertop fabricator. Levi said that problem-solving skills are needed when working with a difficult installation job and good communication skills are very valuable in keeping customers happy.
Both Evan and Levi say that having their own business helps pay their bills and has its perks. Evan said, “I like working with my hands more than working in an office but it really comes down to this……….I do the work part of life, so that I can enjoy the life part of life.”
Both boys were forwards on the boys’ basketball team and made the BIIF All-Star team while they were at Waiakea High School. Evan won a few slam dunk contests and his most memorable game was during his junior year when they were the only team to beat Hilo High, who went on to become the champions of the State tournament. Levi’s most memorable game was during his senior year at the State tournament where he earned a record 42 points and 20 rebounds in the game against Mililani. He was named to the BIIF All-Star second team. Their father served as the head coach for seven years. Evan graduated in 2001 and Levi in 2003. Other remembrances include a fire in a teacher’s trashcan and the fire that burned the shed and damaged R Building.
Evan has now been married for 1½ years and is in the process of building his first home. Levi enjoys fishing and they both are involved in studying and sharing the Bible. They encourage students to, first, stay in school, and then, to learn a trade. Also, learn to respect authority since you will someday have a boss, and, eventually, may even be a boss.