Author Archives: jimservi

Tomajcik Custom Woodworking

Tomajcik Custom Woodworking
Passion for carpentry was developed early

By: Jim Servi


John Tomajcik’s, Owner of Tomajcik Custom Woodworking LLC, passion for woodworking and what would ultimately become his career was unknowingly planted at a young age. “My first big project was a gun cabinet and I became very passionate about it. I had some conversations with Mr. Artac and he said, ‘if you really like it, stay at it,’ and I guess I did. He was a big part of it,” Tomajcik explained, sharing the inspiration from his high school woodshop teacher. His father still has the gun cabinet in his house to this day, as a reminder of his company’s roots. “After high school, I worked at Lincoln Windows and I got an opportunity to work in the display department. I’d go to shows in Orlando, Las Vegas, all over and brought back what I saw. It had to be the best since it was on display. Later, I learned to weld at Greenheck. I’m glad I have all the different backgrounds for different projects.”

John Tomajcik

Since 2007, John has worked part-time growing his company, working on projects throughout the area and helping friends and family with their custom projects, while also working a full-time job. Earlier this year, he made the leap and expanded to a full-time operation. “I made a transition earlier this year, in February, when I was laid off. By the time I was called back in April, I had a bunch of work lined up and already have stuff coming in for next year.”

His company has grown by word of mouth and people seeing his projects on social media, especially Facebook. John also attends shows when he can. He recently built a media center for a lady near Minocqua. When John asked how she found out about him, she replied, “I saw you two years ago, and talked to you at the St. Germain Flea Market.” Moments like those show him that his efforts are paying off.

In his hometown of Merrill, he helped convert an old Wisconsin DNR building into the Sawmill Brewing Company, which has quickly become one of Merrill’s most popular destinations, with his custom woodworking. He recently created unique pieces for Apprill Family Chiropractic in Merrill and Real Deals on Home Decor in Stevens Point. Most of his projects have been local, but he is willing to travel to meet customer needs, finishing a kitchen in Three Lakes earlier this year. Other projects have taken him from Madison to Minocqua and several points in between. Tomajcik just completed one of his most creative projects to date. For the Merrill School Forest, he recently built 8 tables and 16 benches. The unique aspect is that each table/bench combination is made out of a different wood – ash, cherry, aspen, maple, oak, and three other species – with the wood burned outline of that respective leaf in the table. “That way, when the kids go out in the woods and find a leaf, they can come back and see what the wood from that tree looks like,” Tomajcik explained with pride.

He offers a wide array of services including custom built furniture, kitchens, bathrooms, recreational rooms, and epoxying, but really doesn’t limit himself in what he’s able to provide. “Everything is always different,” Tomajcik said. “In Point, I just finished countertops. I’m working on cabinets for a house right now, and a custom dining room table for someone else. It’s nice to always have a variety.” One thing that sets Tomajcik apart is he’s willing to go the extra mile, literally, to live up to his motto of making “statement pieces that are built to last.” Just recently a customer was looking to build a walnut table, but didn’t want a standard thickness. John drove to Minneapolis to find the exact thickness his customer was looking for and created, the perfect one-of-a-kind piece.

Right now, Tomajcik is bidding on larger jobs, including a new brewery that is being built, hoping to continue to expand his projects and continue to grow his company. To do that, he has plans to build a new shop next year. That will be the next step to where Tomajcik ultimately wants to be. “I want to be that go to guy, with the reputation of quality. If you want something that is going to be great, get it from me. That’s what I want people to think.”

First Published in On The Business News on February 12, 2018.

Product 6-Pack: January & February

Product 6-Pack
Too much to enjoy to get stuck indoors this winter

By: Jim Servi

Diamond darters
Shad dart jig heads painted in various color schemes. The Swarovski crystal is attached to the head of the jig and reflects light under the ice to attract fish to the lure. This will help set you apart from your competition on the ice. Comes with glow eyes. Available in size 8, 10, & 12 hooks. Made right here in Wisconsin. ($1.50/2-pack)

Finicky Fooler
Forget pulling, get reeling! That’s the slogan and philosophy behind this product. It’s designed to use with your favorite rod and reel with an indicator flag like a tip-up. That way when the fish shows up you can fight them with your pole rather than simply pulling on the line. With multiple resistance settings, including extremely light, you can target different species with a simple tweak. Two flag colors. Made right here in Wisconsin. ($29.99)

Beam bender with all new arrow
Attaches to all major brands of fish finders and flashers to enhance your underwater viewing capability. 4-6 times the viewing diameter of using only in the vertical position. Allows you to find more fish and follow active schools to increase the number of fish you put on the ice. The arrow shows you which direction the camera is pointed so you know where to drill your next hole. ($14.99)

Salomon escape 5 grip ski & prolink access binding
Designed with recreational cross-country skiers in mind. Waxless grip allows for maximum control and easy maintenance. Low Heel-Toe camber and touring binding for easy, secure kick and a smooth glide. Core is Densolite 1000 for lightweight strength. Mid-length skis with S-cut for use in any conditions. ($239.00)

GoPro Fetch dog harness
Calling all dog lovers. Ever wonder what your dog is seeing as they explore the landscape? Or maybe you want to capture that moment just as they flush a bird? If so, here is the perfect after Christmas present for your pet. Made with two mounting locations for different perspectives. Adjustable to fit most dogs. Material designed to let your pup get wet and dirty (as if you could stop them, right?). Attach your camera and you’re ready to go. Tether included so you don’t lose it. ($39.99)

Neos-navigator 5 gray winter boots
Insulated overboot designed to be worn over shoes and hiking boots, or they can be paired with felt liners and insoles to wear like a traditional boot. Either way they are versatile and designed for winter adventures. Incredibly lightweight with great traction. Available in six sizes. Rated for well below zero even with Crocs and wool socks. Made right here in Wisconsin. ($150.99)


To read the latest copy of On Wisconsin Outdoors, please visit  the On Wisconsin Outdoors website.

First Published in On Wisconsin Outdoors on January 1, 2018.

Finicky Fooler

Finicky Fooler created after idea popped up
Kronenwetter man’s ice-fishing product now sold in shops, online

By: Jim Servi

You never know when inspiration will strike, but it’s important to be ready and take advantage when it does. Luckily, Tom Reiter, owner of Reiter Outdoor Products, was ready when his light bulb went off with a new concept in ice fishing. “In 2014, I had this idea and thought, ‘why couldn’t there be a device that you set your rod and reel in with the bail open and it trips a flag once a fish strikes,’ and from there I started tinkering with different ideas and building prototypes.” With each new design, he would test the tension needed in order for fish to trigger the flag, how the wind affected the set-up, and how the trigger design worked. “It took three or four designs before I came up with this trigger design and it took off from there.”

Tom Reiter with his Finicky Fooler

After testing his prototype that winter, Tom discovered it worked well. The Finicky Fooler was ready to introduce to the outside world. He showed it to friends while they were fishing and they all proclaimed the same thing. “Hey, this thing works good. You’ve got to get a patent on this thing.” At that point, Reiter knew he had something that people would want. “From there we designed a little better prototype and made up over 500 of those,” Reiter explained.

As many business owners know, having a good idea and getting people to buy your products are two different things. Tom began the challenge of getting other people to recognize and sell his product. “The hardest thing was trying to get it into shops. Some showed interest, while others showed no interest. I decided just to deal with the ones that had interest, and not try to force the issue with the ones that didn’t. A lot would say it was a cool concept, but didn’t want to buy them,” Reiter said. He figured if he could get some local shops to commit and then make the rounds at ice fishing and sports shows, then pretty soon the word would spread. It turns out his hunch was correct. “That following winter, we got into a few shops and sold 400 of them.”

“After selling those, we figured we needed a design that would be more efficient to assemble,” Reiter acknowledged, explaining how his family helps with the assembly and his daughter Miranda runs their website and Facebook page. “It was simply too time consuming.” From there, he came up with a new design, this time with a plastic base. Reiter also began looking for local manufacturers to help build components and ultimately expand his production and grow his company. Reiter worked with Deluxe Plastics in Clintonville on the new design that would incorporate the hardware from the prototype into a plastic base. A 3-D print was made to test the design and then a mold was made. Reiter liked what they created and had them produce 3,000 plastic bases last year. G3 Industries makes the trigger arms and the rod holders just down the road in Kronenwetter, the flag material is ordered from a company in Ohio, and the fiberglass flag staff comes from a company in Alabama. “Once we get everything, we still need to put them together, but it works well. My brother cuts the flags to width with equipment at his business in Appleton then I cut the flags to length with a paper cutter. I glue all the flags myself, and my family helps with the assembly. It’s nice working with G3 Industries because they are just down the road too, so if they have any questions or need to make changes I can just stop by. Even Deluxe Plastics isn’t that far away if I want to stop by. It’s definitely a family operation.”

Tom also owns a self storage facility in Kronenwetter which offers flexibility to focus on the Finicky Fooler and taking Reiter Outdoor Products to the next level. On their website, customers can buy the Finicky Fooler Tip-Up, but Tom has already found a need for another product, a hole cover, which was recently just added to their website, and he’s hoping his product line continues to grow from there. “The biggest thing with the hole cover was the prototype of the ring idea. It works well because it keeps the hole air tight and prevents the hole from freezing up. Prototypes were tested last season with encouraging results and we have already done a little testing on the new product during that cold snap earlier this winter and are ready for more testing soon now that it’s getting cold again,” Reiter explained.

“It has its ups and downs and is a bit of a roller coaster ride, but we’ve had nothing but good feedback and several repeat customers. It’s nice hearing that people like the product and the word is spreading. That’s the best part of what we’re doing,” Reiter described, when discussing where the company is headed next. “At the trade show we were just at a purchasing manager from Scheels liked our product and the Finicky Fooler may be in their store soon. We’re slowly but surely increasing our market. We got a bait shop in North Dakota that is going to order, and we’re possibly adding more product line. We’ll see where it goes from here. One product sparks another and pretty soon you have a product line. We’re making progress and moving up in the world.”

First Published in On The Business News on January 1, 2018.

Thoughts from a Bee Keeper

The Time is Now to Prepare for this Delicious Hobby
Thoughts from a Bee Keeper

By: Jim Servi

“Bees are disappearing!” Numerous reports, studies, and newspaper headlines have been declaring in recent years to the shock and dismay of many. It doesn’t take an expert to know what catastrophic effects that could have on our agricultural industries and the native plants and flowers that bees pollinate. Luckily, the number of hobby bee keepers is on the rise and it’s relatively easy to get started. “I really enjoy bee keeping,” explained second-year bee keeper Kevin Staus. “I am a curious person and always looking for new, challenging hobbies. Some form of farming always intrigued me and currently this is the only farming that fits my budget and time schedule.”

To get started, the first thing is to learn as much as you can. Numerous books and articles can point you in the correct direction, as can joining a local beekeeping association, but nothing beats tagging along with a bee keeper. Chances are there is someone in your county more than willing to share their expertise. Spring is the best time to start your operation, allowing your bees plenty of time to build a durable hive, which means the best time to start planning is now. Location is an important consideration. Fortunately, with abundant agriculture here in Wisconsin and most farmers more than willing to let you locate a hive on their property, a couple calls or knocks is all it should take. There are also numerous urban beekeeping programs for those living in cities. “The most surprising thing I learned is how docile the bees can be if you handle then slowly and gently,” Staus said, explaining how getting stung is rare. “The only time I have been stung or when they have tried to sting me is when I rushed things and basically deserved it.”

“If you decide that this is really what you want to do, find a local reputable bee supplier,” Staus recommended. “This will ensure that the bees you get are from a quality source.” One hive and bees, generally a queen with a swarm of worker bees, will cost approximately $200-$400 to get started. Your local supplier can also help you with any local ordinances and state reporting requirements, along with the essential equipment. A bee suit, gloves, smoker, and smoker fuel are the minimum tools required and costs roughly $160, although you may need fencing with an electric fencer if you are in bear country.

Once your hive is established, it’s important to keep your bees healthy. Initially, bees require feed syrup in the spring and fall when there are no natural food supplies available. Monitoring occurs throughout the summer. Although rare, you may need to treat for mites, other parasites, or diseases. Late summer and early fall are a bee keeper’s favorite time of year. This is when they can reap their reward and harvest the honey. However, there is a note of caution on harvesting honey the first year. “My bee supplier always told me not to count on any honey from a brand-new hive as the bees need to make all the wax comb which takes a great amount of energy. The bees will reuse the comb year after year so once it is made, they can spend their energy on honey production,” Staus said. “This actually was true for me. My first year I did not get any honey for my consumption but was able to collect in the second year.” The last thing any bee keeper wants to do is harm their hive, plus waiting an extra year from honey only makes the taste buds grow fonder. Finally, after honey harvest, it’s important to winterize the hive properly to help the bees survive the unpredictable Wisconsin winters. With your bees tucked in for the winter, you can then call yourself a bee keeper.

To read the latest copy of On Wisconsin Outdoors, please visit  the On Wisconsin Outdoors website.

First Published in On Wisconsin Outdoors on January 1, 2018.

And the Winner is…Montana Sunset by Anthony Erno!

Congratulations to Anthony Erno – Winner of the 2017 Forever Changed Photo Contest!

Here it is, Montana Sunset:

Montana Sunset by Anthony Erno

He’ll receive a $50 gift card of his choice* and one of the first copies of Forever Changed once it’s published this year.

Thanks to all the other participants. I was impressed by the beauty and quality of the pictures all year long. Please continue to submit your pictures for a chance to win the 2018 Photo Contest.

Sponsored by Forever Changed.


Submit Your Picture Now for the Forever Changed 2018 Photo Contest

The Forever Changed Photo Contest will be back in 2018!  Which means, we’re now accepting photos for January for the Forever Changed 2018 Photo Contest. Photos will be collected throughout the remainder of December and I’ll begin posting them in early January.

The winner will receives a 2019 Calendar of the 2018 Monthly Photo Winners, a $50 gift card of their choice* and an autographed copy of Forever Changed. If there are any other sponsors that are interested in contributing to the prize, please let me know.

Don’t forget to pre-order Forever Changed today!

To participate in the 2018 photo contest, send your pictures to with the title of your picture and your name. Photos without titles will not be accepted.

This photo contest is focused on the great outdoors, recreation, travel, adventure, and the beauty of day-to-day life.  Please avoid selfies, family photos, and such.

Monthly winners will advance to the final contest to be held in December 2018 for a chance to win the grand prize and have their photograph featured on this website.

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” But, in truth it is really more than that. Good pictures makes you stop and smile, while great pictures make you stop and realize how truly great life really is. And that feeling is priceless.

Stay tuned to get your regular dose of that peaceful feeling.


  1. Photos must be your originals. Cropping is okay but no photo-shopping.
  2. You must be the original photographer and cannot submit someone else’s photo.
  3. Only one photograph per person can be submitted each month. If you’ve won a monthly contest, you can no longer submit pictures.

*Choice will be from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church’s scrip program which includes a wide variety of selections.

Disclaimer: By submitting your picture for this photo contest, you are authorizing this website to post your picture here and use it for promotional purposes, including the 2019 calendar.

Mount Hood Meadows by Stephen Buhrmann

Mount Hood Meadows by Stephen Buhrmann

Click here to vote now!

Sponsored by Forever Changed

Somewhere Over the North Atlantic by Scott Vachavake

Somewhere Over the North Atlantic by Scott Vachavake

Click here to vote now!

Sponsored by Forever Changed