FDMC 300: Cabinetry & closets firms project sales gains despite economic headwinds

Renovation projects will continue to spur business for companies involved in the cabinet and closets/home organization industry, such as Superior Cabinets (#128). 

Economic concerns and the fluctuating housing market continue to plague FDMC 300 manufacturers in the cabinetry, closets, and home organization.

Although the latest KCMA Trend of Business Survey shows a year-over-year drop of 9.7% in March compared to 2023 figures, the month-over-month change is positive, with sales up 10.8% compared to February, and cabinet quantity up 9.8%. The estimated overall market sales for March were up 14.3% to $1.4 billion for the month, with the projected cabinet quantity at 4.6 million, a 7.0% increase from February estimates. Participants in the monthly report by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association include custom, semi-custom, and stock manufacturers.

In another sign of cautious optimism, the (National Kitchen & Bath Association) NKBA/John Burns Kitchen & Bath Market Index (KBMI) rose during the first quarter of 2024, with some of the most significant signs of a recovery coming from the manufacturing segment, which at 58, outpaced the overall 56.4 Index rating. Surveyed manufacturers also said they expect 6.8% revenue growth for 2024 vs. the 5.7% average for all four segments. 

“The manufacturing segment remains a critical bellwether of the health of the K&B industry,” said Bill Darcy, global president & CEO of NKBA/KBIS. “Despite dampening effect of persistently high borrowing rates, manufacturers are telling us that they are optimistic about the year ahead, an encouraging sign for the entire industry.”

Renovation projects, particularly big-ticket ones, are helping drive optimism. KBMI showed lead quality improved in Q1 2024 for high-end/luxury projects, signaling profit potential for firms concentrating on projects with budgets of $150,000 or more.

That also bodes well for those involved in the closets and home organization markets, where renovations are a key source of projects. In general, noted Amanda Conger, executive director of the ACSP-Association of Closet & Storage Professionals,, “ACSP members anticipate surpassing 2023 sales in 2024, driven by shifting consumer needs post-pandemic, particularly the demand for home organization solutions. However, designers are advised to not only concentrate on sales figures but also on marketing their expertise to navigate a slight industry dip.” 2025 sales projections, she added, “are rated as ‘good,’ reflecting sustained consumer interest in home improvement and organization.”

Artisan Custom Closets (#189) is among the FDMC 300 companies making recent acquisitions.

Relative optimism by FDMC 300
The FDMC 300 an annual ranking of the largest wood products producers in North America, saw sales for those in the cabinetry and home storage segment reach an estimated $15.8 billion in 2023, approximately 20.9 percent of the $75.5 billion sales achieved by all FDMC 300 companies for the year. 

Overall, 2024 projections are relatively optimistic, with those interviewed anticipating sales increases over 2023. 

“We should see an 8-10% increase in sales,” said Brian Benner, president of Orchard Hill Cabinetry/Builders Cabinet (#289). “This is due to the increase in remodeling being done by home buyers who cannot afford to lose their low interest rates on their mortgages and are choosing to stay in their homes.” He added that sales projections for 2025 are “neutral.”

At Village Handcrafted Cabinetry (#278), Joe Trave, owner and CEO, noted “We do expect to exceed sales from 2023, however, downward pressure in pricing is forcing us to get creative in design and sales techniques to keep our sales numbers up.” The company also is looking to open new trade partner accounts to grow revenue. Projections for 2025, Trave added, are good, with a 10-15% increase over 2024 figures projected.

Superior Cabinets (#128) also is bullish on sales, said Jack Laninga, executive vice president. “Given our consistent growth trajectory and strategic expansion efforts, we anticipate 2024 sales surpassing 2023. We have taken significant steps to increase our production capacity and continue to enhance our distribution network.” He added, “The largest concern regarding supply chain is the limited deflation in goods and its impact on overall pricing in the marketplace.” 

“We project our sales for 2025 to be excellent,” Laninga continued. “With continued market demand for Superior Cabinets in the USA and Canada, coupled with our strengthened operational capabilities and market presence, we anticipate sustained growth in the coming years.” 

JB Cutting Inc. (#236), which provides components to the cabinetry, closets and other markets, also foresees a rise in demand. “We expect 2024 sales to exceed 2023 sales,” said Christina Relyea, director of Customer Experience.  “We have added several independent reps to our sales team and are already seeing the benefits.” 2025 projections, she added, are “excellent.”

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Industry challenges
In addition to navigating today’s economic, housing and supply chain issues, workforce shortages and competition from low-cost imports rank high among the challenges faced.

“I would say the top concern for KCMA is making sure that trade in this country is conducted fairly,” said Betsy Natz, CEO of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association. The KCMA has been the leading industry advocate for fair trade to ensure domestic cabinet manufacturers are competing on a level playing field.

“Also high on the list is the economy and the housing market. Where are we going to be? Will interest rates be coming down? Will people be selling houses [and/or] feel like they can sell their houses?” Natz asked. 

“With this being an election year, uncertainty is clearly a concern,” commented Trave. “However, the continued high inflation is having a major impact on customers’ budgets.  There is a general sense of pricing fatigue in the marketplace, with customers struggling with the cost of everything that goes into kitchen/bath/remodeling projects,” he said.

“Our largest concerns, as we look forward, are several ever-changing dynamics in the marketplace,” noted Laninga. “There is significant potential volatility, from interest rates to governmental regulations to political uncertainty in North America. In addition, there is a need for new young professionals to enter our industry in both the sales/design and manufacturing sectors,” he added.

Benner concurred. “Labor supply continues to be very tight, and we cannot find good workers,” he said. “Inflation is also still a concern which leads to higher wages.”

Relyea also cited labor shortages, “finding [people] and getting the current workforce into the position that best reflects their skill set,” as a top concern, followed by efforts to become a more process-driven company. “We’ve hired a training specialist to document [the] new processes and vet [our] current processes,” she said. “These two specific initiatives were shared with all employees through town hall-style meetings throughout Q1.  They will continue to be shared and progress reported out by team leads quarterly.”

“Concerns linger about workforce shortages impacting the industry’s growth trajectory,” said Conger, who is also the executive director of the National Woods Board, an organization with the mission “to help build an industry-ready, trained workforce.”

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Growth opportunities 
“Remodeling will continue to remain strong for the foreseeable future as well as other rooms such as home offices and basements,” Benner noted.

“As an industry, we need to continue to focus on all things of the customer. Their exposure to new ideas, products, and technology provides significant challenges and opportunities,” said Laninga. “We need to adapt to an ever-changing marketplace, and customer needs to provide products and experiences that are current and have a high ease of use,” he added.

“For our company which has always been a regional (metro Philadelphia) firm, we are expanding into new markets using trusted industry rep firms. Our cabinetry and service, we believe, are some of the best in the industry, so getting our foot in the door at more design firms, architects, kitchen dealers and builders will be our strong push in 2024-25,” Trave said.

“JBC is deeply committed to becoming the innovative design leader in the cabinet door and wood component space. Adding innovative materials, finishes, and profiles will help us to achieve this goal,” Relyea said. “In addition, we are looking to capture the custom end of the marketplace (e.g. routing for lighting for floating shelves), becoming more entrenched and being able to anticipate customer needs instead of being reactionary,” she added. 

"Moreover, embracing sustainable practices and offering eco-friendly products aligns with consumer preferences, fostering industry growth amidst changing market dynamics,” Conger also noted.

About the FDMC 300
More than 100 cabinetry, closets, home organization and related firms are included in the 2024 FDMC 300, an annual report published in April that tracks the largest wood products manufacturers in North America and ranks them by sales. Updates of the FDMC 300 firms and the industry segments are posted throughout the year. For information on how to be included, contact [email protected].

The 2024 FDMC 300 is sponsored by IMA Schelling Group.

FDMC 300 firms share strategies for success 
We asked some of the FDMC 300 cabinetry manufacturers to share a strategy for success. Here’s what they had to say.

  • “On the back side of the pandemic, we have significantly refocused on the customer experience and upskilled all our associates to return to basics with no excuses. A customer-first focus is key,” said Jack Laninga, executive vice president of Superior Cabinets (#128). 
  • “Keep delivering the high quality that our clients expect, all while trying to keep cost contained on all fronts to help drive down the final cost of projects to remain competitive,” said Joe Trave, owner and CEO, of Village Handcrafted Cabinetry (#278).
  • “Don’t lose sight of your costs and be prepared to keep your quotes where they need to be,” said Brian Benner, president of Orchard Hill Cabinetry/Builders Cabinet (#289). 
  • “Invest in technology and innovation while cultivating a workforce that values adaptability and continuous learning,” said Christina Relyea, director of Customer Experience, JB Cutting Inc. (#236)

(More tips by large, mid-size and small wood products manufacturers can be found in the WOOD 100: Strategies for Success.

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About the author
Karen Koenig | Editor

Karen M. Koenig has more than 30 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As editor of special publications under the Woodworking Network brand, including the Red Book Best Practices resource guide and website, Karen’s responsibilities include writing, editing and coordinating of editorial content. She is also a contributor to FDMC and other Woodworking Network online and print media owned by CCI Media. She can be reached at [email protected]