2011 WOOD 100: Marketing Initiatives

The sky’s the limit for innovative woodworking firms when it comes to their development and implementation of marketing strategies to grow their businesses.  Whether it’s by relying on social media and the internet for promotion and sales, creating or expanding product lines, or taking the uncommon position of selling machining and millwork capabilities to competitors, the companies in this year’s WOOD 100 have all demonstrated the initiative it takes to successfully market and make sales — and get the job done.

5th Wall Designs LLC, Blaine, MN – This custom wood ceiling manufacturer goes “over, above and beyond,” when it comes to the manufacture and marketing of its products in these tough economic times. “We have addressed the issue of the economy by offering quality, low cost options to our customers,” says Bob Zwolinski, vice president of operations.

In addition to 5th Wall Design’s complete engineered ceiling system,  the company also offers panels for coffered and linear ceiling designs as well as ceiling clouds. Tongue and groove paneling is also available.  Designed for both commercial and residential applications, the ceilings are made from solid wood grids and veneered panels, and can be custom-matched to suit a variety of decors. The company offers a wide variety of exotic and domestic veneer species, available in a variety of cuts, for customers to choose.

Easy to order and install, 5th Wall offers step-by-step directions for its systems on its website, FifthWallDesigns.com, thereby reducing the customer’s on-site labor costs, the company says. In fact, the internet, has proven to be 5th Wall’s dominant marketing tool and accounts for the vast majority of sales ­— domestic and international — for the seven-year-old company, which was started by Greg Moore in 2004. The company has also worked with wholesalers, as well as home center and hardware retail chains, to market its products.\

TOP MARKETS

Shoji Woodworking, Slinger, WI
A manufacturer of custom shoji screens for room dividers, window treatments and Asian home décor, Shoji Woodworking improved sales 5.5% by reducing fixed costs and through its marketing efforts, including new printed product catalogs, says owner Mark Miller.

Interior Components Group Inc., St. Cloud, MN
CEO Steven Barthelemy says the commercial millwork and caseworks firm is marketing to more contractors and expanding into other markets. New equipment, including a vacuum lifter, is helping to improve productivity.  

Island Custom Cabinetry Ltd., Sidney, BC
President Jack Van Domselaar says the 17.2% growth in 2010 has come from increasing the cabinet firm’s exposure in the marketplace. “We want to meet more people by networking and advertising.” New equipment, including a larger compressor, thickness sander and Williams & Hussey moulder, plus CNC, aid production.

A Perfect Closet & Cabinets Inc., Deland, FL
CEO Leonard Morreale reported 30.9% growth for 2010, and the custom closet and cabinet company is not done yet. Plans call to offer a wider range of products and promote the quality differences to customers. For added sales, the company also markets its expanded millwork capabilities to other area woodworkers.

Barbosa Cabinets Inc., Tracy, CA
The cabinet, casegoods and countertop company continues to diversify and take on new product lines. According to Ron Barbosa, owner and executive vice president, the company will also seek out ways to cut costs while improving productivity. Recent equipment purchases include an additional CNC router, case clamp, CNC dowel machine, postformer and conveyor.

Witmer Furniture, Abbotsford, WI
Plans for the residential furniture firm call to “continue to not only increase our customer base, but our range of products offered,” says President Kevin Schlinkmann. This includes expanding further into occasional and entertainment pieces while continuing to increase its bedroom offerings. Sales grew 14.8% in 2010.

P & M Caseworks LLC, Albuquerque, NM
According to Adrian Jansz, general manager, the residential and commercial cabinet firm is expanding its marketing efforts across the board, including bidding on as much commercial work as possible. Sales grew 50% in 2010.

Triple A Custom Wood Design LLC, Akron, PA
Sales for this high-end custom cabinetry and millwork manufacturer grew 55% in 2010. According to Amos Allgyer, partner, this is due to “[our] continuing to increase the value of product produced, and marketing to the correct demographic to make that possible.”

Absolute Closets and Cabinetry, Las Vegas, NV
CEO Jay Ward cites “aggressive advertising, increasing product knowledge for salespeople, and a can-do attitude to go out of the box,” for helping to grow sales 38.4% in 2010.

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