Showplace Wood Products made news recently, announcing plans for a $10 million expansion to build a new line of full-access/frameless cabinetry. The project includes the construction of a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, to be located on the south end of the company’s main campus in Harrisburg, SD, and the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment.
This will mark the company’s sixth major expansion since its formation in 1999 by a group of eight seasoned cabinetry professionals, headed by Tony Bour, CEO and chairman of the board. The custom and semi-custom cabinet company has been up and running since 2000, marking what has become a remarkable run of growth which continues today.
“Showplace has established itself as a major national brand. The company only sells through kitchen and bath dealers — no buying clubs or Big Box chains,” says Scott Korsten, director of marketing. “We have dealers in all 50 states and some in Canada.“ The company also owns and operates five Showplace Kitchens retail showrooms.
Showplace currently employs 477 people, all of whom have a stake in the manufacturer and its success, as the company is 100 percent employee-owned.
Highly successful, Showplace’s production has grown significantly since 2000, from 50 cabinets daily to more than 500 today. Its product range also has expanded, and in addition to residential cabinetry includes furniture, Murphy beds, refacing services and designer closets.
Manufacturing of the products is currently spread across two production plants, with the third scheduled for completion in the fall, with production targeted for December. The main facility in Harrisburg encompasses approximately 215,000 square feet, and the door manufacturing plant in Beresford, SD, is 30,000 square feet. The new frameless production facility in Harrisburg will be 60,000 square feet.
Korsten says Showplace’s success can be attributed in part to its original vision: offering a brand with the most-wanted features to the most people, with modifications that were comprehensive and affordable, and often without charge. The company also has a reputation for offering specialty style and finish options that are affordably priced. In addition, every Showplace cabinet is American made.
The company outsources some of its components from suppliers that include Northern Contours. “We see many benefits to our partnership with Northern Contours. It enables us to offer a wider range of designs and it enhances our ability to offer fashion-oriented types of doors,” Korsten says. “Northern Contours is a company that offers contemporary market appeal. They help evaluate style trends, colors and designs. We benefit from their market research in that area and they help us stay current,” he adds.
“Customers today are different than customers of 10 or 20 years ago. They are much more knowledgeable about woods, door styles, custom finishes and wood species,” Korsten continues. “We have stepped outside of what we thought we’d be as a cabinet manufacturer. Today, you have to be open to creating much more complex cabinets.”
Information networks are driving the trend, providing access to a wide range of information. “Consumers today often say, ‘This is what I want,’ not ‘What do you have?’” he adds.
Asked about the impact of the economic slowdown on the company, Korsten says it followed a period from 1999 to 2008 when Showplace was expanding its facilities and “adding dealers just as fast as we could. We grew so quickly that in some respects, the recession gave us a chance to slow down and catch our breath.
“That’s not to say that the recession hasn’t been traumatic, but we pride ourselves on never having to lay off a single worker during that time,” Korsten says. “As business dropped we all worked fewer hours at times. Business is coming back in most areas of the United States. In our plant, we have worked five out of the last eight Saturdays to handle the workload.”
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