CHARLOTTE - The co-located Cabinets & Closets and Wood Pro Conferences today brought a fresh take on these events.

And with an array of new speakers, it drew many first-time attendees for an educational prelude to two shows also co-located for the first time: Wood Pro Expo and Cabinets & Closets Expo, which open March 7 at 10:00 a.m. at the Charlotte Convention Center. (A free keynote, "5 Lead Magnets to Supercharge You 2019 Marketing," by Brian Kraff of Market Hardware, begins at 9:00 a.m.)

Today's conferences began with a keynote address by David Linda, who recently relinquished ownership of his highly successful Houston firm, SpaceMan Home & Office.

In "How I Launched a Closets Business and Retired Early," Linda offered a road-map for growing business equity, then finding a buyer when the time is right. It was a subject that appeals to all business owners, whether they are custom kitchen cabinetry builder or operating closets and home organzation shop. The room was packed.

Then registrants divided along business lines, with a third going to the Wood Pro Expo track, moderated by Will Sampson (and sponsored by CMA), and focused on custom woodworking; and two-thirds to the Cabinets & Closets track (sponsored by the ACSP), moderated by Closets magazine editor Michaelle Bradford.

Among new speakers on the closets track included Lisa Carlquist of Artisan Closets, on Growing Your Business; Brian Kraff on using online technology to "Go from Nowhere to Page One on Google in 3 Simple Steps"; and Mike Hoffer, owner of Carolina Closets Plus, who spoke about his experiene doing a closet for the reality TV remodeling show, "Love It or List It." Two panel sessions, one on design, the other on "Thinking Out of the Box" in building new niches, were very well received.

Guy Bucey, director of operations, Inova, LLC. 

The Wood Pro track was lead off by an inpiring and informative presentation, "Leadership Matters," by Guy Bucey, director of operations for Inova LLC, a maker of commercial hide-a-beds. Bucey, who joined Inova after a tour of duty in Iraq, lamented the lack of leadership in small U.S. manufacturers. He related how his experience as a Marine machine gunner had no civilian application, "except that all marines are trained in leadership skills." Bucey was a Wood Industry 40 Under 40 Award winner in 2017. 

Making his debut as a presenter was the very popular columnist at Woodworking Network, Scott Wunder, owner of Wunderwoods. Wunder spoke about "Building a Woodworking Business," and spoke of some steps he has done to grow sales, while tailoring his business to incorporate doing the things he loves. 

Returning by popular demand was sanding expert Adam West, the tehcnical representative of Surf Prep; and Will Sampson, editor of FDMC magazine, who delivered details of the latest FDMC Pricing Survey

Biesse America technology showroom tour. 

After the sessions, conference attendees took a factory tour of the 40,000 sq.ft. Carocraft Cabinets, a 40-employee commercial casework firm based in Charlotte. It was followed by a reception at Biesse America's technology showroom. Both events were sponsored by Biesse. 

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