A Sioux Falls company continues to experience growth year after year, despite the current economic environment.
|Prairie Heritage Furniture & Cabinetry produces a number of products like the furniture-style kitchen above, as well as closets, bathroom vanities and more.|
Jeff and Doreen Anglin, owners of Prairie Heritage Cabinetry & Furniture, say they are fortunate to live in âthe pocketâ of the Midwest. Sioux Falls, SD, to be exact. According to them, the housing market has only slowed down slightly compared to the rest of the nation.
âItâs very strong here, [although] thereâs still fear in the back of everyoneâs mind because we hear whatâs going on around the country,â says Jeff.
According to Doreen, Lincoln County is one of the 10 fastest growing counties in the United States, mainly due to the large number of medical facilities and credit card companies located around Sioux Falls.
âIf you drive around, the town is growing all over,â Jeff explains. âIt has slowed down some, but not like everyone keeps saying. Everyone keeps preaching doom and gloom, but we havenât seen it yet. It is a very strong market.â
As a matter of fact, Jeff says the company has grown every year. So much so, that Jeff says that he âwould like to see things slow down a bit. We are not complaining, but I push very hard. Every year we upgrade our business somehow â either with software or equipment.â
Their latest purchase, a Weeke Vantage 34M CNC machining center from Stiles Machinery Inc., has had a tremendous effect on the shop, according to the Anglins. âBuying the machine was one of the key things that lead to increasing our productivity, that and new software,â Jeff says.
The benefits are obtaining increased accuracy and freeing up at least two to three shop employees.
âWe have a much better flow because that machine is cutting everything and it is so accurate,â Jeff explains. âAssembly at the end is a lot faster, too. It takes all of the guesswork out of it. Yes, there are huge learning curves involved, and youâve got to have the right people that can do it, which we do, thank God.â
Another benefit is that they are able to cut down on waste. Jeff says that his waste factor is minimal because the CNC optimizes material. âThe pieces that fall off a sheet, the CNC will tell you what size it is and you measure it, label it and put it in the library. For the next job we have to cut, since we use a lot of the same materials, it knows that there is a piece set off to the side, and it will call it back. So your waste factor is minimal. We also know how much material we are using because after we program a job, it tells us how many board feet we are using.â
Knowing how many board feet they use comes in handy because the company does not have to stock as much inventory, Jeff adds, and storage space is an issue for them. The total office, shop and showroom is approximately 10,000 square feet, but Jeff and Doreen say they need more room. âItâs pretty tight out there,â Doreen says. âWe need more space to stock inventory.â
âAnd more finished product,â Jeff adds. Last month they had to rent a building just for storage. However, they are hoping to add an addition on the current building, which they erected just two years ago.
|Prairie Heritage Furniture & Cabinetry has a âstate-of-the-artâ finishing booth with Kremlin air-assisted sprayers.|
A Little Background
Although Prairie Heritage Cabinetry & Furniture started in 2002, Jeff has been involved in cabinetry work since high school. Initially he worked with other woodworkers and then started his own company, Malloryâs Custom Cabinets. Although short-lived, Jeff credits it with sharpening his business skills.
âIt was a huge learning curve because I was a lot younger and I trusted everybody,â he says. âI was [taken advantage of] by a contractor, but it was the best learning curve Iâve ever had in my life. Then I just kind of disappeared for a couple of years to lick my wounds and went back to work for someone else.â
âAfter that, we started [Prairie Heritage Cabinetry & Furniture],â Doreen adds. âWe actually started out just doing furniture. But as soon as people knew that Jeff was the one who started Prairie Heritage, we got a lot of cabinetry orders. So then we had to change our name to Prairie Heritage Cabinetry and Furniture.â
The company has grown year after year and now has 12 employees. Doreen credits their success with three words, âService, service, service.â
âAnd, of course, adding equipment,â Jeff adds. âThat sped it up.â
A Typical Product Line
Prairie Heritage has a diversified product line. Not only does it fabricate kitchen cabinets with a furniture look, but it also produces commercial casework, bathroom vanities, closets, pantries and more.
âIf it goes in the house, we build it,â Jeff says.
Their clients are middle- to high-income. The company services a 50-mile radius, which includes three states besides South Dakota: Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska.
Materials most often used in their products include knotty alder for its rustic look, plus birch, maple and cherry.
âWe like to mix woods,â says Doreen, who does much of the companyâs design work, like mixing oak with black walnut.
Machinery in the shop includes a Brandt edgebander, Altendorf sliding table saw, BÃ¼tfering widebelt sander and the Weeke Vantage 34M. Prairie Heritage also has a âstate-of-the-artâ finishing booth with Kremlin air-assisted sprayers, a Techcore spray booth and Oneida dust collection.
|Prairie Heritage Furniture & Cabinetryâs showroom (pictured in the photos above) gets approximately 25 percent of sales from walk-in traffic|
Green in Sioux Falls
The green movement may be gaining traction nationally, but in Sioux Falls, SD, it is little more than a fad right now, according to Jeff and Doreen.
âItâs not a concept that has hit this area in general, I donât think,â Doreen says.
âOne of our vendors gave a seminar on green materials and I donât think very many people showed up,â Jeff agrees. âA lot of the shop owners and workers are my age, in their middle to late forties or older. I donât think anyone will actually do it here unless they are requested to do it â or if they are forced to do it.â
Jeff says that his customers, who are in their late forties and have built up some wealth, have not requested green materials.
âUntil it becomes more economical, I think that it is going to be a fad,â Doreen adds.
Prairie Heritage does recycle its wood waste. All of its lumber-based products go into a drum and a local company picks it up and makes pallets; then it grinds it.
âThey grind it all up and they sell it for bedding and fuel. That way we donât have to pay to put it in the landfill,â Jeff says.
A Good Rep
Word-of-mouth strongly contributed to Prairie Heritageâs growth. âWeâve had a good reputation around here because of our service, service, service â and because of the product that Jeff builds,â says Doreen. âJeff wonât allow something to go out of the door that isnât an absolutely quality product.â
A good reputation and timely equipment purchases have allowed the company to continue to grow even in a difficult economy. Jeff also credits his employees. âThey are key,â he says. âWe have a really great team here.â
Jeff offers this tip to other companies: âDonât try to do what the big guys are doing. Take what you do and do it well.â
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