Modern Store Equipment has made a big business out of a niche market. “We deal in wine displays, humidors, a wide range of custom racks and counters and we sometimes build convenience stores, but the bulk of what we do and specialize in is the design and installation of liquor stores,” said Owner/President David Dunigan.
“Liquor stores have always been our bread and butter and we are more of a furniture model house than a build-to-spec house, in that we mostly sell the product we design. In addition to our wood manufacturing, we supply all the refrigeration and shelving. We specialize in doing complete package liquor stores and we build them all over the continental United States.”
It’s been a successful business model for Modern Store Equipment, which made the Inc. 5000 list of fast-growing companies two consecutive years. Helping the company streamline production and grow profits has been its use of woodCAD|CAM software.
Available from RSA Solutions, woodCAD|CAM is an AutoCAD design and engineering program, ideal for creating both configure to order (catalog or library), and engineer to order (one-off) products that are fully parametric. Features include 2D and 3D drawings, photo-realistic renderings, and the development of 3- to 5-axis parts in a solid 3D model.
The company has used woodCAD|CAM for two years, said Matt Weikle, head of woodworking technology. “I know for a fact had we not had the software implemented, there’s no possible way that I would have been able to keep up with our workload for the past two years,” he said.
“With RSA’s help in the setup and beyond, we have been able to go in and set all our associations about how we want it to assemble the cabinets themselves. Everything is parametric. At this point, 95 percent of the products we produce come out of the software.”
Weikle noted woodCAD|CAM is flexible and being expanded all the time. “We are able to integrate our sales drawings – all our 3D designs with the construction department with the goal of ultimately having our sales drawings being able to be turned into construction drawings without having to redesign them.”
He added, “We are always trying to advance our products. Even the addition of new fasteners in the software was relatively easy. We probably have four to five new fasteners that we have tried with the software since we started on top of our screw and dowel assembly.”
Another benefit of the software is “it gives us the ability to see all the new products in the various finishes and with the fasteners and then output the drawings to mark up and see what you have,” he said.
Located in Burlington, NJ, the company was established in 1958 by Thomas Dunigan, David’s father, and celebrated its 60th anniversary in April. It currently has 50 employees at the 24,000-square-foot facility. “We recently received approval to add an additional 30,000 square feet,” Dunigan said.
There are unique requirements to a well-designed store, including the proper location for jug and box wine, the best ways to showcase high-end products, and streamline a checkout area. “We provide design solutions,” he added. “We know their business and we know ours.”
To manufacture the fixtures, thermally fused laminate (TFL) is an integral element, as are particleboard, MDF and plastics such as Plexiglass. Modern Store Equipment uses a wide range of machinery, purchased from Stiles Machinery, with key pieces including a horizontal beam saw and CNC routers.
“We have gone from no CNC routers to having four of them,” Dunigan said. “We have raised our automation in a big way. The software and equipment have made it possible for us to go from a just over $1 million a year company to a $21 million company this year. “
He added, “We are a soup to nuts supplier for the industry and we are very much into design. What we offer our clients is innovative designs in our category and the ability to take people all the way through the whole process.”
A majority of work is through referrals, with clients and installations spread across the nation. “We have a number of chains that we work with on a regular basis. One of the leaders in the liquor store industry now has 180 stores – we built the first one, and every one since,” Dunigan said.
“My Dad once explained why he got into the liquor store business: ‘In good times people drink and in bad times, people drink more.’"
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.