An entrepreneur with two previous businesses under his belt, David Cutler entered the closet market in 1989 after being quoted prices on the product when building his house.
“The closets that were offered to me were, I thought, a very poor quality, not interesting and grossly expensive,” the president of The Closet Works Inc. related. And despite just 14 months experience in woodworking, having worked in an RTA factory in Israel in the 1970s, “I thought to myself, ‘if this is what closet companies are getting for the product, I think I’m going to open a closet company.’ So I leased a building and bought my first machine from Panel Wood Machinery, with whom I still do business.”
Due to a confluence of good fortune, hard work, and the input of good people, the closet startup became a multi-million dollar success. Today, the Pennsylvania-based company’s products are sold through a network of more than a dozen authorized dealers in 14 states, along with a retail division in the Philadelphia metro area and New Jersey.
But the road to success wasn’t always easy. The recession in 2008 hit especially hard. The situation called for a change in course, and at that point the company began its lean manufacturing journey, which it still follows to this day. That decision is the move that he now credits as one of the best decisions he has made.
Also among his achievements, “The consistency, longevity and the fact that I deal with the same people, including vendors, colleagues and customers over that time span, has resulted in long term and successful business relationships and friendships.”
He added, “I believe in treating everybody with respect; my employees, my vendors and my customers.” At The Closet Works, “We have managed to blend youth and vitality with age and experience, creating a unique environment which is respectful, inclusive, tolerant and encouraging. Our colleagues are well compensated, and everyone is vested in our mutual success. As a result everyone gets along and supports our philosophy. Everyone has to do well for the company to do well.”
Helping others is also important. The firm is a longtime member of ACSP and Cutler formerly served on the board. He currently is on the board of JARC, which aids developmentally disabled adults, the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County and Abramson Senior Care. Cutler and his wife also support AIPAC, Best Foot Forward and For Kids. “We are lucky to be able to help these diverse groups and create a better future for deserving people from all backgrounds and walks of life.”
While not working or volunteering, Cutler enjoys traveling with his wife (64 countries), and playing golf. “We love being busy; it keeps you young.”
- Education: BS Communications, Temple University
- Number of years at the company: 33
- Number of years in the industry: 34
- Word that best describes you: Optimistic
- Business mantra: By providing complete satisfaction to our customers, our employees, and our vendors, we’re able to succeed on all levels.
- Best advice: Four points from my parents: Be kind, be honest, finish what you start, and judge people only by their character.
- Who have you tried to emulate: First, my wife. She’s an incredibly talented designer and extremely effective while being calm, cool, and collected. I have learned so much from her. Also, Harvey Goldberg – I would not have been nearly as successful without his guidance, counsel, and friendship.
About the Wood Industry Market Leaders: This marks the 15th year Woodworking Network has paid tribute to outstanding men and women that have made an impact, not only at their companies, but within the various wood products industries. Since 2009, 100 industry professionals have shared their influencers, insights and strategies. Read more about the 2023 Market Leaders and past honorees at WoodworkingNetwork.com/Market-Leaders.
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