Kellogg Cabinets Inc. utilizes exceptional quality, customer service and a diversity program to carve a niche in the commercial casegoods market.

 

Among Kellogg Cabinets’ clientele are high-end retailers, such as Victoria’s Secret and Middleton Dolls (above). Additionally, the company does work for restaurants, Tutor Time education centers, funeral homes and offices.

From grocery stores to funeral homes, banks to doll retailers, Kellogg Cabinets Inc. of Canal Winchester, OH, thrives on designing and fabricating a diverse portfolio of commercial cabinetry.

“We’ve done pretty much anything you can think of out there — restaurants, all kinds of retail stores, banks and grocery stores,” says Doug Kellogg, founder. “We also do a lot of just cabinet work for office buildings and warehouses.”

Since it was established 42 years ago, the company has grown from a single-man shop to having a staff of 20 in the production area and 30,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Through its growth, the company has secured a range of domestic and international clients.

When so many companies are competing for contracts in markets where, in most cases, cost is king, Kellogg Cabinets went a different route and targeted the high-end portion of the market.

“We based the company ’way back when on turning out the best quality products we could and providing the best service we could give, and price was third in line,” explains Kellogg. “Not that we don’t have to be more competitive all the time, but within that price range, we’re still going to turn out a quality product.”

With that market in mind, the company set out to establish and maintain long-term relationships with its clients.

“We did some studies on the market, we did some benchmarking of Kellogg Cabinets versus the industry, and what we found is that there is a need for good quality custom cabinetry on a responsive basis,” says Andy Pflaum, COO.

Currently, the company is taking strides to build new relationships and become more well known in the world of commercial casegoods and retail fixtures.

“That’s what I’m doing now, trying to get the name out more so we can broaden our customer base and let more people know what we can offer,” remarks Dennis Carnevale, sales representative.

The company’s key to establishing and maintaining those relationships is going beyond basic customer service to becoming a partner with its clients.

For this Japanese steak house, the customer wanted bamboo incorporated into the design. Since Kellogg Cabinets had never worked with bamboo before, it ordered extra, and took the time to work with the material before adding it to the final product.

Partners, Not Customers

“Once we get a customer, we’ll partner with them,” says Kellogg. “We want to design for them something that’s going to fit all of their needs and will last.”

That philosophy has helped Kellogg Cabinets land some high-profile clientele, such as Victoria’s Secret, Middleton Dolls, Kroger, White Castle restaurants, Tutor Time education centers and Huntington Banks.

“We want to be the kind of company that people want to do business with,” says Pflaum. “People like to do business with people they trust. And that’s where we try to fit in. We feel like that sort of care and attention to detail is a competitive advantage.”

The company’s high-profile clients expect high-profile results. They also expect high levels of customer service, which could mean providing multiple prototypes, quick turnaround and answers around the clock.

“Dennis gets called fairly late at night from some of our customers,” Pflaum remarks. “When they call, they know they’re going to get that level of service. They know they’re going to get a straight story of what we can do.”

This may also mean experimenting with new materials the company has not used before. A Japanese steak house wanted part of its interior done in bamboo, which Kellogg Cabinets had never used before. To make sure the project would be right when it went out, the company ordered extra bamboo and worked with it before using it in the project.

“There’s a human element here, there’s an experience element and an element of care and concern for the customer, not just today, but long term,” says Pflaum.

In addition to this Morbidelli CNC machining center, Kellogg Cabinets uses a Holzma beam saw and software from Microvellum and Trakware.

Taking Control of Quality

According to Pflaum, quality control “starts with the estimating process, because the estimator has to factor the quality the customer wants into the bid.”

Knowing how important image is in the retail world, Kellogg Cabinets understands the need for quality in its products. The company does not want to ship anything less than what it promised and, according to Kellogg, he is not afraid to call a customer and tell them that Kellogg Cabinets has to make a correction, even if that means the product might ship a day or two late.

“In 10 years, the customer’s not ever going to remember us missing the deadline, he’s going to look at that quality product and know it’s right,” Kellogg says.

“Finish is an area where Kellogg can really stand out to a customer,” says Pflaum.

The company uses a variety of finishes, depending on the job going out. This could be anything from basic finishes to high-gloss finishes that require special care in the paint room.

In addition to wood, the company works with glass, metal, acrylic and more to get the look and feel its customers need.

“That’s what’s been a very easy sell, because the quality is phenomenal,” remarks Carnevale.

Opening New Doors

In March 2007, Kellogg Cabinets became certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) under the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Even though the company has only held this certification for a short time, it has already opened the door to new business opportunities.

“More and more companies are identifying it as a diversity opportunity to do business with women-owned businesses,” says Judy Kellogg, president and CEO. “It gives us the opportunity to get doors opened.

“We have an opportunity to not have to go through the gatekeeper and around the block trying to find the person to talk to, as far as what our services are,” she adds.

Because of the company’s status as a WBE-certified company, Kellogg Cabinets has been able to meet with a diverse group of clients, which has resulted in several new contracts.

“You still have to provide great service, a good price and quality, but it gives us the direct connection to meet new people,” Carnevale says.

The WBE certification also encourages the company to boost its own diversity and find new WBE companies with which to do business.

“As a WBE-certified company, it gives us the opportunity to meet other women business enterprises and start our own diversity,” says Judy Kellogg. “As a woman-owned business, we need to be taking advantage of opportunities to support other women businesses. It allows us to diversify our vendor relationships.”

This helped the company when it was bidding on a job with a national bank chain. As part of the bid process, the bank wanted to know how Kellogg Cabinets was establishing its own diversity.

In addition to opening new doors with its certification as a WBE company, Kellogg Cabinets has been certified by the SmartWood Program of the Rainforest Alliance as a SmartWood Chain-of-Custody company. As the green building movement grows, this is becoming more of a critical factor in securing new contracts.

“We are working on a few green projects currently where we’re using FSC certification,” says Carnevale.

“We’ve seen an eruption in the number of LEED or FSC projects that we’ve been asked to bid, just in the last six months,” adds Pflaum.

“Every presentation I’ve done in the past six months to architects, designers and contractors, that does come up,” says Carnevale. “I think in the next six months you’re going to see even more.”

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