Alice Culp, South Bend Tribune | December 4, 2014
A little of South Bend is on display in the White House this Christmas.
Each year, the White House staff and volunteers deck the halls for the holidays. This year, the decorating theme is "A Children's Winter Wonderland." And somewhere among the decorations is a large toy train engine designed and built by South Bend Woodworks.
Not bad for a company that's only been in existence about 18 months.
South Bend Woodworks makes wooden toys and furniture for children and licensed gift items for the University of Notre Dame and Princeton University. Its products are all handmade in its South Bend shop and are sold at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore and online.
One of those products is a wooden toy train, with a 14-inch engine and two cars. Its design is based on a train that Don Troxel, director of design and manufacturing for the company, made for his children 40 years ago.
The train is pictured on South Bend Woodwork's website, where a Chicago company viewed it.
The company called Mike Lindburg, president of South Bend Woodworks, to ask if the toy company could make a larger version of the engine — about 4 1/2-feet in length.
He quoted them a price. The company was unsure, but Lindburg told them it would be a fun project for his staff, so they would build it anyway.
The Chicago company decided to buy it.