Closet makers get down to business at Cabinets & Closets 2017
April 11, 2017 | 4:31 pm CDT

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. – Attendees of the 2017 Cabinets & Closets Conference and Expo focused on closets business management and marketing in a number of sessions in the Closets Track.

The closet emphasis, one of three tracks (the other two were lean management and cabinets) started with How to Run a Business, by Bob Lewis of Closets & Storage Concepts. Lewis, CEO and founder of Closets and Storage Concepts, described three different business models for the closet business.

Closets & Storage Concepts has a large manufacturing location in Florida, and works with 40 franchises in 17 states. Lewis talked about different product segments and the manufacturing versus outsourcing.

Lewis suggested that closet marketers watch key performance indicators such as an accounting chart of accounts, customer relationship analysis, and benchmarking.

Denise Butchko, consultant and writer, spoke about how to reach potential customers among millennials. She defined baby boomers and how they value experience.

Butchko recommended integrating social media into marketing campaigns, and creating an experience rather than just selling a product. Also, she suggested making email marketing the center hub of a company’s content wheel.

One other idea: create and distribute content far and wide.

The myths of online marketing for cabinets and closets was discussed by Todd Bairstow of Keyword Connects.

Bairstow said that every company gets bad reviews online, and websites are never fully optimized. Also, social media doesn’t drive leads, Houzz can drive well-qualified leads but in lower quantities, advertising on Yelp is expensive, and most traffic to sites that gather business information get the vast majority of traffic from Google.

Which materials are real and which are fake? Grace Jeffers of Grace Jeffers Design talked about the truth about fake materials, and compared the general view of “real” vs. “fake” materials.

Jeffers said that a truly natural material is not made or caused by mankind. Colors, lighting and fragrance are also examples of things that are thought of as natural but usually aren’t.

All materials have a hallmark, Jeffers said, and have a characteristic that informs an understanding of what a material is.

Paul Donohoe told CCCE attendees about how to make better photos of their work, in a talk presented by ACSP. He advised closet professionals to show their best work, show before and after photos, display photos in a large tablet, and show images that display your company’s capability and variety.

Donohoe also reviewed the fundamentals of digital photography and post-processing methods.

There’s more to come at Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo, including two days of exhibits April 12 and 13. Go to


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Karl Forth

Karl D. Forth is online editor for CCI Media. He also writes news and feature stories in FDMC Magazine, in addition to newsletters and custom publishing projects. He is also involved in event organization, and compiles the annual FDM 300 list of industry leaders. He can be reached at