W&WP April 2000




Why Participate in the WOOD 100?

By Rich Christianson


Every year, without exception, we receive a handful of nearly completed qualification forms from companies seeking to earn a place in the WOOD 100, Wood & Wood Products' annual report of fast-growing woodworking companies.

The number one item that typically separates the nearly completed from the totally completed two-page questionnaires that cross our desks is the blank spaces calling for a company's three-year sales history. More often than not, when we call the contact listed on the form to secure the figures, he or she will tell us that it is company policy not to release sales numbers.

We certainly don't begrudge a company the right to decline to have its annual sales published in a magazine circulated to more than 52,000 subscribers, not to mention posted on our Web site for the whole wide world to see. But we do think it's a shame that we are not able to include some of these companies, especially after they share their off-the-record growth numbers with us.

Sometimes we hang up the phone shaking our heads wondering why these successful entrepreneurs are so uptight about having their sales numbers published. Are they afraid they will draw new competitors to their market or that their employees will wonder why they are not getting a bigger piece of the pie? Are the numbers they tell us in secret different than what they report to the Internal Revenue Service?

We don't know for sure because we never get a straight answer when we ask, except the stock response reminding us about "company policy." If we prod them for a more definitive reason, our reluctant WOOD 100 contact becomes defensive and invariably asks, "How does being in the WOOD 100 benefit my company?"

That's a fair question that I think is best answered by some of the executives whose firms have been featured in previous WOOD 100 Reports. Read on to learn what some of last year's representatives have to say.

"Employee morale and customer confidence in the company has increased."
-- Craig Graybar, Graybar Furniture Works Ltd., West Allis, WI

"I think it's an excellent way to honor our employees and receive some market exposure. Appearing in the WOOD 100 has solidified relationships with current customers and assisted in the recruitment of new ones."
-- Mike Sutter, Michiana Laminated Products Inc., Howe, IN

"Being part of the WOOD 100 helps our customers recognize that we are a growing, vibrant company. Being featured by a national publication adds confidence for our customers in our abilities."
-- Joe Hickl, Evans Cabinet and Door Co., Brenham, TX

"I use the reprints as part of my marketing handouts."
-- Kevin Mack, Nu-Trend Custom Cabinet Co., Elk Grove Village, IL

"Several of my peers have congratulated me and I have received several corporate prospects due to the online listing."
-- Steve Kelley, SK Cabinets & Millwork, Conroe, TX

"Being one of the WOOD 100 differentiates our firm and builds a sense of validity in the minds of specifiers."
-- Charles Cody, Strata Design Inc., Traverse City, MI

"It's a great morale booster for the company to appear in a national publication. We have sent press releases to our local papers and have gained new vendors that we were not aware of until they contacted us because of our participation in the WOOD 100."
-- Stanley Kujawa, Craftsman Woodwork Inc., Milwaukee, WI

"The employees have taken great pride in this achievement."
-- Bruce Erickson, Fancer Chair Co., Falcomer, NY

"Vendors have noticed. They like to be associated with positive-minded companies on the move. We are currently working on a PR announcement to the public."
-- Steve Keener, Keener Kitchen Manufacturing Co., Red Lion, PA

11th Annual WOOD 100
The search for the WOOD 100 class of 2000 begins in earnest now. Don't hesitate to call me if you have any WOOD 100 questions at (847) 634-4347, ext. 652. But please don't bother to phone if you're shy about seeing your company's sales figures in print.


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