HMC Inc. of Columbia, MD, offers a profusion of unique value-added services to its commercial clients that result in true turnkey solutions.

When Owner and President Gerry Dzurek founded HMC Inc. in 1989, he began his commercial architectural woodworking business fabricating video store display racks. Soon, his business model grew to include casework for the food service industry, a move that would propel the business into what it is today — a successful architectural design and development firm.
As HMC began working with more and more general contractors on commercial millwork and casework projects, the food service industry market niche began to take its definitive shape, says Joe Reiss, director of HMC’s operations.
“This work led us to evolve into a company that is centered on doing business with large food management companies, such as Sodexho Inc., Centerplate and Aramark Corp. These companies contract with sizeable institutions, utilizing HMC to fabricate the food service facilities for places such as universities and government facilities,” Reiss says.

Capable of Most Anything
Although food service is HMC’s forte, it is not the only area of expertise for the company. It could be called a “Renaissance man” type of firm, capable of producing many things. For instance, it fabricates high-end architectural woodwork for Fortune 500 corporations and retail stores, in addition to creating laminate casework for mobile coffee carts and kiosks, and food service and healthcare industry applications.
“Our specialty is really our ability to provide one-stop shopping to our clients,” Reiss says. “We also offer full construction capabilities, since we acquired a licensed commercial general contracting business with 32 years’ experience in the Washington, DC, area.”

HMC fabricated the rustic-looking beams and mouldings for the curvilinear interior of the Red Sage Restaurant in Washington, DC. The project included 12 weeks of on-site millwork installation.

HMC Inc.
Columbia, MD

Year Founded: 1989

Employees: 54 full-time

Shop Size: 33,000 sq ft

FYI: In addition to being a custom woodworking shop, HMC also is a licensed general contractor that can not only raze a building but also design, plumb, wire and do the
metalworking for its commercial clients’ projects.

 Conjoining commercial casework construction capabilities with general contracting expertise has made it possible for HMC to offer its clients complete turnkey solutions.
In addition to construction and cabinetry, HMC also offers its clients the following services: architectural engineering done in AutoCAD, stainless steel manufacturing, and signage and menu board manufacturing. The company also offers custom protector cases and food shields, as well as its services in interior design. In addition, HMC’s design staff will layout a floor plan to include table and chair placements.
“Our licensed technicians can also do all the related mechanical systems required during an installation, including welding, plumbing, wiring, HVAC, exhaust and fire suppression systems — everything,” Reiss notes. “We’ll even do the demolition beforehand.”
The company does all of its own casework and millwork installations and will also help clients procure wholesale food service equipment and install it. Reiss adds that HMC does all this for its clients while still processing several jobs through the shop at once, keeping an on-time schedule. (See sidebar p. 40 for other services HMC offers its clients.)

Different Materials are Transforming the Industry
Since HMC works on many different types of projects that span the country, reaching as far as Puerto Rico and Hawaii, the company is well versed in style trends.
“The different materials available today are transforming the industry,” Reiss says. “For instance, we are using a lot more stone tops in all of our projects. People are also asking for translucent panels, indirect under-the-counter lighting and neon-colored plastics with edges that look as though they are lit up.”
These differences have occurred during the past five years. “Today we don’t have call for only ceramic tiles; instead, people are also asking for glass and other case-hardened materials. They like a lot of color and texture in their projects. And laminate companies are doing a great job coming out with products that meet these needs, like the metal-looking products they offer. People love them. There is really some interesting stuff out there,” he says.

Gratuities Included

While traditionally it is the client who tips after a good meal to show thanks, in a new twist on this old tradition, HMC “tips” its clients first with its many value-added services.

For instance, HMC offers full engineering and design services that include preliminary hand-rendered drawings that are submitted to clients along with the financial proposal and an equipment schedule, so clients can get a feel for what the final project might look like, explains Joe Reiss, director of operations.

When a proposal has been accepted, 3-D story boards (as shown below, left) are created. Each story board includes the company’s name and
a colored hand-drawn overview with 3-D elements incorporated, like people and furniture. Actual tile, stone, laminate and fabric samples are also attached to show how the color palette chosen works in harmony with the caseworks’ engineered designs.

In addition to these services, HMC’s staff includes general construction contractors, engineers, interior designers, electricians, plumbers, metalsmiths and custom woodworkers who “pride themselves on superior design, quality, value and complete customer satisfaction,” Reiss says.

“Our abilities are limitless — be it a custom commercial office space renovation, retail store interior, a new restaurant or food service facility, you can depend on our ability to achieve the best value, design intent, superior quality and, most importantly, on-time delivery of every project,” he adds.

From contemplation through completion, HMC’s diverse business model makes it possible to deliver custom projects nationwide that are truly turnkey operations, Reiss adds.

 â€œBut all good style begins with the core,” adds Reiss. “For food service applications that can be exposed to liquids, like those found in food courts inside malls and dining facilities on university campuses, we use a 3/4-inch plywood under laminates that we lay up in-house, because ply is resistant to bowing.”

Laminates are purchased from Formica, Wilsonart, Nevamar, Pionite and sometimes Abet Laminati. “We will work with whatever is specified,” Reiss says.

For dry applications, such as a boardroom or corporate lobby, MDF frames are used. Veneers are subbed out, but all finishing is done in-house. Stains and lacquer topcoats are generally purchased from M.L. Campbell and applied in the company’s spray booth.

“While there is not a large demand for solid woods, they are used where specified,” Reiss notes.
Another trend in commercial food service projects, Reiss adds, is the use of stone and stainless steel tops, and the demand for
sinuous cabinetry crosses the boundaries of all projects. To fabricate the architectural millwork, curvaceous cabinetry, stand-alone kiosks and the like, the shop uses a Delta belt sander, Powermatic table saw and 20-inch planer, Porter-Cable joiner, Altendorf F-45 sliding panel saw, and a Brandt edgebander. A Pinske edging machine is used for solid surface applications.

Forward Thinking
Presently, HMC is working on some food service projects for the University of Richmond, VA, SUNY Cortland, NY, and St. Bonaventure University, also in New York. Reiss says jobs like these can price out between $50,000 and $3.5 million depending on the size of the job and the materials specified. HMC also does work for many branded restaurant chains, such as Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts, as well as retail stores, corporate and medical facilities, and high-end stand-alone restaurants.
Reiss notes that the market for commercial millwork and casework has been strong, so strong, in fact, that there “are months where we have to turn away work. I just don’t see the demand evaporating unless the country suffers something terrible like another terrorist attack,“ he says. “Something that devastating would have an untold affect our economy.”
But the family-owned company chooses to be forward-thinking and focus on the potential that the future holds. Planning for growth is already in the works.
“We are looking at acquiring a property to build a larger manufacturing facility and adding equipment. In the meanwhile, though, we are working to improve our production processes and are planning to purchase a CNC router, so we can maximize cutting potential,” Reiss adds, smiling.

The exterior of the Red Sage Restaurant in Washington, DC, profiles an antique storefront theme. This theme is carried throughout the restaurant’s interior with antique-looking display cases, rustic beams and a custom exhibition cooking area. Sinuous serving stations, such as this one that was recently installed at the University of Richmond, are HMC’s forte. Mixing brilliant-colored and woodgrain high-pressure
laminates with stone tops and steel accents is quickly becoming the preferred look in today’s academic food service settings. HMC has the capabilities not only to engineer the cabinets, but also to wire and plumb the units. In addition, HMC can fabricate the steel components it needs to complete a dining area.
Three-quarter-inch-thick laminated plywood-core panels are edged on the shop’s Brandt edgebander. Raw ply sheets are cut using an Altendorf F-45
sliding panel saw.

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