Made in Plano: Zeito Customs

Four Brothers Find Work Doing What They Love

From Warren Buffett’s “Take a job that you love” to Steve Jobs’ “The only way to do great work is to love what you do,” variations of this quote have been spoken across cultures and throughout history.  The Zeito brothers have taken this proclamation to heart with their company, Zeito Customs.

The Zeito brothers, from oldest to youngest (L-R): John, Daniel, Matthew, Mario // photos Tim Sporcic and Kathy Tran

The brothers, John, Daniel, Matthew and Mario, operate Zeito Customs, a Plano company specializing in custom woodwork and cabinetry, refinishing, restoring and home remodeling. Born and reared in Richardson (Matthew moved to Plano six years ago), they were imprinted by their parents and grandparents who worked as engineers, interior designers, tradesmen and drafters (pre-AutoCAD). The brothers have built their company on three pillars: a blue collar work ethic, woodworking skills and artistic talent.

photo Tim Sporcic

The Zeitos’ strong work ethic developed as children, working for their uncle. He was involved in real estate and the boys worked for him, renovating houses. They cut their teeth on these homes, learning everything from cabinetry and plumbing, carpentry and masonry, to meeting deadlines.

Their woodworking skills were developed under the mentorship of a master carpenter. Under his tutelage they learned the difference between everyday carpentry and woodwork. Carpentry is structural, while woodwork is a creative design process that takes a customer’s idea and manifests into a physical piece.

photo courtesy Zeito Customs

The master carpenter also shared with them a belief that they still adhere to today: “You don’t pay a chef to microwave your meal, you pay a chef to make your meal from scratch.” Currently the three older brothers are passing these skills and knowledge on to younger brother Mario, who is still in school.

The brothers bring natural artistic gifts to all of their projects. John and Matthew draw and paint, while Daniel is a writer of short stories and historical fiction. They also pursue other artistic endeavors, such as music, photography and sculpting. These creative energies are a part of all of their ventures.

photo Tim Sporcic

Zeito Customs’ big break came recently with the arrival of the Plano location of Hash House a Go Go restaurant, a chain known nationwide for its Texas-sized portions of breakfast, lunch and dinner items. As Matthew tells the story, the Hash House project was left unfinished mid-project and the restaurant’s designer found himself in a bind. Matthew was on site as the door contractor and expressed interest in completing the project. The timing was serendipitous, as John Zeito had just been laid off from his job.

Hash House a Go Go entrance door handles // photo courtesy Zeito Customs

The brothers jumped in with both feet, working with the designer to rescue the project. Matthew and John brought ideas and execution to elements of the project that had not yet been started. They also refit previous work for efficiency and designed the restaurant to be compliant with ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Since the completion of the Hash House project, the brothers have gone full time with Zeito Customs.

photo Tim Sporcic

The Zeito brothers believe in building a relationship with their customers. They are there throughout the duration of a project – design, bid and installation. In contrast, a sub contractor of a sub contractor usually does not show up to install the project. In an age where homeowners can easily make a quick, cheap purchase at any big box retailer, the guys believe in making things that last; everything at Zeito Customs is built from scratch.

Hash House a Go Go entrance table // photo courtesy Zeito Customs

Talking to the Zeito brothers, one can feel the passion and excitement for what they do filling their workshop. Smacks of a Plano version of a very famous, age-old quote. Or as Mark Twain put it, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

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