A Mississippi cabinet shop has raised its visibility through its involvement in a television program, and is improving the efficiency of its shop. Partners Chuck Davis and Dustin Cooke are using the additional work and new software to run their shop better.
Davis and Cooke Custom Cabinetry became involved in HGTV’s Home Town program in part because of a home town connection.
“It just so happened (I) knew Ben Napier from college and happened to run into him in town after we opened the shop,” said Dustin Cooke. “Although season one was finishing up he came by our shop one day to discuss our interests in building (cabinets for houses) in season two.”
The Laurel, Mississippi, company made all the cabinetry and related special requests for six (out of 10) houses in the show’s second season. “Now that we have a little better flow in the shop and some extra help we now can be able to tackle all 13 houses in the third season if the scheduling allows,” Cooke said.
On HGTV’s Home Town television program, Erin and Ben Napier are updating classic houses in their Mississippi hometown. They use found materials and older textiles, Erin’s hand sketches and Ben’s custom handiwork to provide affordable updates to older historical houses, bringing them back to life.
Showing your work
Cooke said that Cabinet Vision is used from the initial interaction with the potential client all the way to the cut sheets for production. Although Davis and Cooke may not generate renderings for the client at first contact, they do show clients other jobs and explain to them the advantages of using it in regards to their project.
“Once the job is contracted we begin customizing their requests into three-dimensional (renderings) so they have full confidence in the finished product,” he said.
“Most clients have a very hard time visualizing what they want or what to expect. This way they can see exactly what they’re getting and have assurance and confidence what their money is being spent on.”
The shop does a variety of projects and repairs, including small elevation cabinets for some customers.
“We hate to turn down projects, especially ones that are interesting, challenging, and break up the monotony of everyday common builds,” Cooke said. “The smaller builds and specialties help as gap fillers between longer drawn-out jobs so we schedule them accordingly.”
Davis and Cooke fabricates from raw goods to a finished product ready for them to install. “We build custom cabinetry of all sorts ranging from kitchens and vanities to closets,” Cooke said. “Our customers are of a wide variety: Remodels, new construction, smaller budget items, and high end builds.
The company builds everything from raw material to finish. The company’s four employees use solid stock face frames and high quality ply products to prevent issues with veneers. They have a 10,000 square foot building with 8,500 square feet of production area in Laurel.
“We use all ¾-inch high quality ply for carcases, solid stock for face frames, and ½-inch Russian birch for drawer boxes unless otherwise requested,” Cooke said. “We do not use particleboard, MDF, or China birch for any of our builds. In rare cases we do use MDF if applicable. We do have a 40 x 40 finishing room. We also allow other painters to use it if the homeowner has already a preference with a painter for our build.”
Shop equipment includes a Jet 20-inch helical planer, Powermatic 66 table saw, Grizzly table saw for ripping stock, Ritter 24-hole line boring machine, Castle 35 pocket hole machine, Ritter face frame table, and what is seen as an important piece, an SCMI 37-inch widebelt sander. Cooke said eventually a CNC machine will be something they look into.
Cooke said the company has faced challenges in growing.
“We have definitely gone through the growing pains of a new business over the past 18 months with a lot of learning and adjusting the flow of the shop accordingly to maximize production,” he said. “Also finding dependable help to delegate responsibilities to so Chuck and I have more time to focus on (marketing) and improving our business is finally making a huge difference.”
Davis and Cooke Custom Cabinetry
Products: Custom cabinetry
Vero software—Cabinet Vision
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