2012 WOOD 100 Strategies for Success: Product Innovations
By Karen Koenig | Posted: 09/06/2012 2:55PM
Cooking up new and creative ideas is what distinguishes these innovative wood products companies from their competitors.
Yestertec/Stealth Kitchen Yestertec Design Co., Bethlehem, PA
The product name says it all. The Stealth is an innovative kitchen design, with technology to hide not only “hot” appliances, but also the countertops and any evidence of a standard kitchen from view, says David Beer, president.
The Stealth Kitchen Modules is the latest product line in the company’s Alternative Kitchen Design solution, and follows on the heels of Yestertec’s Kitchen Workstation Furniture line and the company’s Mini-Kitchens and Hospitality Centers. “Our most innovative workstations feature exclusive U.L. Listed technology that allows all ‘hot’ appliances, like ovens and cooktops, to be safely concealed from view when they are not being used,” Beer says.
The Stealth design, he adds, “allows a kitchen to disappear so that it can integrate flawlessly into another type of room without compromising the design aesthetic. We envision it mostly for minimalist design, however, it can be used for all sorts of design themes, including period design back to any previous century.”
Different modules that can be combined to suit all standard kitchen layouts, including in-line, U-shaped, island and peninsula; Stealth for Mini-Kitchens also is available. The panels come stained in pine, quarter-sawn white oak, mahogany, cherry and maple or in painted wood or laminate. They come as flat panels or in solid wood grids, which can be constructed into various patterns. “The panels that cover the modules can even have graphics applied to make the wall look like a rainforest or even Vesuvius erupting.”
Although the Stealth has been available to the public for awhile, “This is still an extremely underexposed concept, but all reactions that we do receive are extremely positive,” Beer adds.
More Top Innovations
Northern Contours, St. Paul, MN
Sales for the kitchen and bath cabinet components maker grew 8.3%, due in part to its diversified product range of contemporary European designs, including: high gloss acrylic, thermofoil, exotic veneer, and hardwood components. More growth will come too, “With continued product innovation and [our] expanded market channels,” says Lary Skow, vice president of sales and marketing.
Drawer Box Specialties Inc., Orange, CA
President Cathy Blankenship says “Being more creative in our approach to products and options for our customers,” such as the Helping Hands Recycling Center, has helped spur the success of the custom drawers and accessories manufacturer. DBS is a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified Supplier of wood components.
In2Design Solutions Inc., Vaughan, ON
The flexibility of its freestanding and modular furniture solutions for the office, educational and healthcare environments helped grow sales 28.6% in 2011, says Miro Plavsic, partner. In2Design bought an edgebander in 2011, and a vacuum lifter and diamond tooling are planned for 2012.
DeskMakers, Commerce, CA
With its focus set firmly on manufacturing environmentally friendly office furniture, the company was able to see its sales grow 20.0%, says John Bornstein, vice president. DeskMakers’ website says the company “strives to reduce, reuse and recycle materials whenever possible” and its products can contribute to LEED points.
Copeland Furniture, Bradford, VT
COO Mark Burzynski says sales have grown for the solid wood casegoods firm, due in part to an “improved product assortment to provide wider distribution.” Plans call to expand its capabilities with the purchase of a CNC router, widebelt sander, moulder, tenoner and ripsaw this year.
Diamond Case Designs Inc., Anaheim, CA
“Changes in the home theater industry to smaller ‘credenza’-style furniture instead of larger built-ins,” is resulting in more specialty items and custom work for the casegoods and entertainment center supplier, says President David Hartfelder.
Boa Franc GP, St.-Georges, QUE
Jacques Beaudoin, executive vice president, cites the hardwood flooring firm’s innovations with its Mirage line, and the addition of species, colors and widths to its different series, as contributing to its 7.0% sales jump.
Solidwood Interiors Inc., Markham, ON
Diversity, customization, “more product development and following design trends,” is the focus of the solid wood residential furniture firm, says President Ayad Gabriel.
Hot-Woods LLC, Lincoln, ME
The company’s thermally modified wood capabilities for products are spurring sales growth as they gain a foothold in the industry, says Gary Bies, president and CEO.
Palmieri Furniture Ltd., Richmond Hill, ON
The library and school furniture maker specializes in “furniture that moves for collaborative spaces.”
SpartaCraft Custom Woodworks, Connelly Springs, NC
“We continue to amaze our customers by going beyond standard cabinetry and making ‘furniture for your walls,’” says President Don Clark. 2011 sales grew 11.4%, and 2012 is looking equally well, with new production capabilities having been added to the plant.
Links to 2012 WOOD 100: Strategies for Success stories
More Wood 100 ideas will be detailed in an upcoming webcast on Nov. 14. Register at WoodworkingNetwork.com/webcasts.
About the Author
Karen M. KoenigKaren M. Koenig has more than 25 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As Editor-in-Chief of Wood & Wood Products, Karen’s primary responsibilities include spearheading the writing, editing and coordinating of the editorial content of the publication, along with the Red Book resource guide and the Red Book online source and supply directory (RedBookOnline.com). She is also a frequent contributor to other Woodworking Network online and print media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org