Olaf Gerhardt, Tischlerei Fine Woodworking, Salina, KS. Photo courtesy Salina.com Tischlerei – Fine Woodworking, LLC opened a high-end custom woodworking shop in Salina, KS, last month. But it’s no ordinary start-up. Owner Olaf Gerhardt has moved and reconstituted his woodworking operation from cramped quarters in Osborne, KS, 90 miles away, to take advantage of a talented local labor pool and local and state government incentives.
The 44,000-square-foot plant, leased from the Salina Airport Authority, is part of a half-million-square-foot vacancy within the Airport Industrial Park. Tischlerei is located in the former headquarters building of airplane manufacturer Hawker Beechcraft.
Incentives – Tischlerei was given a $60,000 building improvement, and pays just $455 monthly for the first 6 months – encouraged the move. “There was a lot of work left for us to install electric services and distribution, dust collection and air lines. We also built a new finish room within the building,” Gerhardt says. The Airport Industrial Park is an Enterprise Zone. So “the Enterprise Zone will enable us to get a refund on sales tax,” he notes.
But access to workers was the biggest motivator. Gerhardt says it was tough to get people to settle down in isolated Osborne, population 1,400. The area around Salina has a ready population of skilled woodworkers. Cabinet manufacturers Crestwood, Inc. and Ovation Cabinetry are located in Salina, as is Salina Planing Mill, an architectural millwork company.
In the Shop
“We have been very fortunate to be able to hire an exceptional finisher and several very talented craftsmen,” says Gerhardt. “I am confident we can establish a progressive team striving to succeed.”
Though Tischlerei has done some commercial projects for its residential clients –including an office building in Taiwan – its specialty is residential work. It began operations with 15 employees. “We want to stay focused on high-end cabinetry and millwork, even though we do some commercial work such as professional offices and financial institutions,” he says.
The company’s name, Tischlerei – German for “woodshop” – reflects Gerhardt’s German heritage. Gerhardt also has technical degrees in robotics, electrical engineering and computer numeric controls. That training is reflected in the extensive use of software in the plant. Applications include Planit Cabnetware, Alphacam, AutoCAD, plus Microvellum, which accompanied a C.R. Onsrud Panel Pro flat bed CNC added before the move. Gerhardt expects Microvellum to come into play as he moves into frameless cabinets next year.
“Our plans are to start offering Euro-stye cabinets, sometime in 2013, in addition to current face-frame offerings,” he says.
Tischlerei was the subject of a research support study regarding CNC machinery by Kansas State Business Development Center. A C.R. Onsrud CNC and Martin T27 CNC shaper followed the study’s advice. “After months of planning and brainstorming and remodeling, everybody is excited to start up production,” says Gerhardt. “We are very fortunate to have a healthy backlog and our dealers have a positive outlook for the future.”