Cabinets & Closets 2017 expands conference and awards programs

The Cabinets & Closets Conference and Expo returns to Chicagoland in 2017, running April 11-13 at the Renaissance Convention Center in suburban Schaumburg, Illinois.  
Located 20 minutes from O’Hare Airport, the Renaissance Convention Center features a deluxe setting for the two-day expo for home organization and storage professionals, which won rave reviews during its 2015 event there.
The Renaissance Center also provides a perfect location for the two-day pre-show conference, featuring business management tracks for closets and cabinet shop owners. New this year is a Lean Operations track, as well as a certification program for closet professionals developed by the Association of Closets & Storage Professionals. 
The two-day expo is expected to include more than 100 exhibitors of closets and storage systems, panel, functional and decorative hardware, design and production software, and wood manufacturing machinery and tools for cabinetry and custom woodworking shops. Business management systems and professional consultants will also be part of the mix.
Custom cabinetry and finish carpentry firms can learn how to grow sales and profits in a day-long conference, Power Up Your Business, April 11 at the Cabinets & Closets Conference. The event includes a plant tour and free admission to Cabinets & Closets Expo April 12-13. 
Two parallel business tracks – a Closets Conference, “Growing a Profitable Business,” and a “Lean Management Conference” conducted by the Center for Lean Learning – are also offered. Registrants may elect to attend sessions in any of the three tracks.  
New this year is a Green Cabinet conference for Columbia Forest Products 850-member PureBond Fabricator Network. This takes place Wednesday morning, April 12,  with a range of exciting  sessions.
The Cabinets Conference includes lunch, refreshment breaks, a plant tour and free admission to Cabinets & Closets Expo, which follows on April 12-13. The events take place at the Renaissance Conference Center & Hotel, in Schaumburg, Illinois, near Chicago. The Cabinet Conference track was developed in partnership with the Cabinet Makers Association, and a number of its members are presenting. 
Keynoting the conference day is Chris Stevens, a noted lecturer on business development and adjunct professor at the Mendoza School of Business at Notre Dame University. 
Stevens gained wide recognition in business development circles for his success in establishing the Keurig coffeemaker as a universally known brand. His presentation will set an inspiring and motivating tone for the cabinetmaker group. 
Stevens presentation is followed by five more business-building sessions:
  • Surge Your Sales, presented by Matt Krig, owner of Northland Woodworks, and president of the Cabinet Makers Association board.
  • The FDMC Pricing Survey, presented by Will Sampson, editor in chief of FDMC magazine.
  • Going from Residential to Commercial Work, with Rick Thayler, OGB Architectural Millwork.
  • CNC Tips  & Tricks, with David Buchsbaum.
  • Kitchen Cabinetry & Design Trends, a summary drawn from trends seen at KBIS 2017.
Cabinets & Closets Conference participants will next board buses to attend a plant tour of a nearby technology-leading woodworking business. That tour is sponsored by Stiles Machinery. Attendees will return conference venue for a networking reception. Early bird registration for the Conference is just $295 until March 10, and it includes admission to the Expo floor April 12 and 13. Expo-only admission is $19 until March 10; and $30 after.  

New for Top Shelf Closets Awards: A $500 prize! 

The Top Shelf Closet Design competition has something new this year: cash awards. Given annually to honor designers for their creative closet and home organization projects, the winners always take home the coveted Top Shelf trophy. 
“We decided to add even more excitement this year, with a cash award,” says Michaelle Bradford, editor of Closets & Home Storage magazine. Overall Winner – the best in show award – will receive a $500 gift card. 
Deadline for competition submissions is midnight, January 14, 2017. All award winners will be featured in the September 2017 issue of Closets & Organized Storage magazine, and will be honored at a gala awards reception, sponsored by Richelieu Hardware, April 12.
Furniture designer Brian K. Ellison, BKE Design, Chicago, will be the host for the 2017 Top Shelf Closet Design Awards. BKE Design provides custom design of commercial and residential spaces, furniture, lighting and handcrafted wood items. Ellison gained fame as a contestant on Spike TV’s reality furniture competition “Framework.” 
Categories for Top Shelf Closet Design competition are: 
• Garage: under 600 square feet; or over 600 square feet
• Home Office: under 150 square feet or over 150 square feet
• Closet: Laminate under 18 linear feet; or over 18 linear feet; Wood under 18 linear feet, or over 18 linear feet; and Reach in
• Specialty: (craft, pantry, laundry, mudroom)
• Wine Cellar
Gold Sponsor for this year's event is JB Cutting. Learn more at   
Among exhibitors already booked:
Accessa Coatings Solutions 
Aurora Distribution LLC
Better Vacuum Cups, Inc. 
Brink Results *
Cabinet Vision, Inc. 
Canary Closets & Cabinetry 
Castle, Inc. 
CCF Industries 
Chiyuewang America *
Closet Pro Software 
Collins Companies *
Colonial Saw Company
Columbia Forest Products
CompX Timberline
Crow’s Nest Software
DC Distributing
Hardware Concepts
Hettich America L.P.
Holz-Her US, Inc.
Interprint, Inc.
JB Cutting Inc. – Gold Sponsor
JJM Solutions LLC
Machine Tool Camp
Macoser, Inc.
Metro Hardwoods
Missler Software Inc./TopSolid *
Mozaik Software, Inc.
Northern Contours
Olon Industries
Organizers Direct
Osborne Wood Products
Patrick Industries, Inc.
Plus Closets
Quest Engineering (CLOzX)
Richelieu Hardware
Roseburg Forest Products
Sidelines, Inc. 
SNX Technologies, Inc. 
Sovereign Inc. *  
Stevens Industries, Inc.
Tag Hardware Systems 
Titus Group 
Uniboard Canada Inc. 
Valley Custom Door 
WalzCraft Industries, Inc. 
Wurth Baer Supply Company  
For latest list click here>>  List as of December 13, 2016. *First Time Exhibitor

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About the author
Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.