"I had a epiphany or vision that we need to dive into extremely complex art and bring things into the world no one has ever seen before," says Max Kolenda who owns and operates Makarios Décor with his wife of 8 ½ years, Airika. The couple has four boys, ages eight, six, four and one. "That led us to utilizing lasers to create things."
Makarios Décor's 3,000-square foot retail space is a test store. It's located inside Woodland Mall near the JC Penny anchor. The Kolendas signed a temporary lease that runs through Jan. 21, 2020, according to Max, age 31. Thereafter, the Byron Center couple will decide if they want to have a brick and mortar store year round or seasonally.
Either way, seasonal or year round, the majority of the products Makarios Décor sells is online via its website. Its product line is crafted inside a makerspace in Byron Center, which is gaining market share in the home and office décor market. To date, the company has sold its products in 35 countries and every state in America — as well as craft shows in Michigan.
Producing a sizzle
"We'd like to stay small but I don't think God will let us," says Max. "Our ultimate wish is to produce a sizzle that would get people to contact us, to be tested. We'd love a church to say we want all of our beams to be wrapped in Scripture or we'd love to redo someone's upper floor with master pieces of art décor stuff that is so highly custom the person that owes the piece and their guests would be just amazed of the feeling and character that it brings in their lives."
God willing, Max will make other tables with the books of the Bible inscribed on them — one table each for all 66 books in the Protestant Bible.
Road Trip to Faith
"Our tentative plans are to have every book of the Bible put on a table and get those all over the U.S. and call that the Road Trip to Faith," says Max, "so that you could actually drive around and see these tables all over."
And although the Gospel of Matthew table is for sale at $5,500, it's not the extent of its product line. A 10,000-square foot manufacturing space in Byron Center is where the Kolendas and five employees craft an assortment of products that online generate 50 to 100 weekly orders, including custom-made signs, custom wood slabs, coffee tables, conference tables, family wall crosses, rustic beam chandeliers, mantles, coat racks, throw pillows, wall décor and wall art.
"We're always building something new and taking on tasks bigger than ourselves," says Max.
Which alludes to why the Gospel of Matthew was chosen first to be etched on the massive table.
Finding his path
"As a Christian, I had a person approach me that pretty much tested my faith and one key element to that whole story was Matthew 16:25, 'Whoever wants to save their life will lose it,'" says Max. "That was a turning point in my life. I truly want to find my path in life. I have to follow Jesus in every aspect of my life. I love the Gospel of Matthew. It's the first Gospel (in the New Testament) and it seemed fitting to do that."
Following a career in corporate sales, Max opened Makarios Décor in 2014. He acknowledges the name of his company doesn't roll off the tongue but believes the moniker fits his business' intended mission.
Makarios: to be blessed
"Makarios is a word Jesus used on the Sermon on the Mount, which means to be blessed or a deeper-rooted meaning is to hold onto God through life's hardships," says Max. "It's kind of like a hidden ministry. We wanted people to search what Makarios means and search the Word of God."
There's been a healthy share of trial and error since launching Makarios Décor in 2014, Max acknowledges.
"I didn't have a background in woodworking," he recalls. "What I've had more than anything is extreme determination to work things out. I like to say God driven, God given. We started the company building Scripture on signs and pillows and then wooden signs. One thing led to another such as someone asking me if I could build a coffee table or do this and I've just never said 'no.'"
The big picture
Makarios Décor's mission operates under three words: the big picture.
"The big picture is when something is built from people who been put on this Earth to do something for them," says Max. "We want them to look at the piece they get from us knowing it came from the hands of people who are godly and focused and godly."
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