11 product ideas to grow sales: WOOD 100 Strategies for Success

New product innovations are opening doors to more business for these 2019 WOOD 100 companies. This year's class includes cabinet and casework manufacturers, residential and office furniture producers, architectural woodworkers, store fixture manufacturers, wood component manufacturers, closet companies and more.

Now in its 30th year, the WOOD 100: Strategies for Success highlights the innovative as well as tried-and-true initiatives put in place by 100 North American wood products manufacturers to grow their businesses. Here's what some of them had to share about their product innovations:

Decore-ative Specialties, Monrovia, CA —  The company was awarded Patent No. 9,845,637 for its invention of the Elk Grove Design, a unique 3-piece, custom cabinet door and drawer front, that is CNC routed and pressed with 3D laminate.

“Appearing to be 5-piece construction, these components are produced by a patent-protected process offering custom inside profiles, raised or recessed panels, and custom size frame widths,” noted Joel Boyles, vice president. The cabinet doors and drawer fronts are complemented with a  collection of mouldings and accessories.

Decore-ative Specialties provides custom cabinet components to the kitchen, bath, closet, garage, office, remodeling, and refacing industries. Product offerings include: RTA cabinets, doors, drawer fronts, drawer boxes, mouldings, accessories, finishing and hardware. Products are manufactured in wood, plywood, 3D laminate, melamine, and aluminum.

Northern Contours, St. Paul, MN —  The cabinet and commercial components manufacturer serves the kitchen and bath, home organization, refacing and contract furniture markets, with products including wood veneer, 3D laminates, acrylic, FENIX NTM and 5-piece doors. 2018 sales grew 14.0%.

“Our manufacturing expertise resides in membrane pressing, miter folding, laminating and edgebanding, machining and routing, and 5-piece door assembly,” said Melissa Sjerven, marketing director.

In 2018 Northern Contours acquired Nubold Industries in London, Ontario. “This added another manufacturing facility, with capability in membrane pressing and 5-piece door assembly. We also continued our successful approach to product innovation with key product introductions, focusing on the latest advancements in EIR and smart matte technology.”

More hot products

Stevens Industries Inc., Teutopolis, IL

“We focused on bringing our products to new markets, extending geographically and expanding end user markets,” said Amanda Emmerich, marketing coordinator & social media manager. The company specializes in highly detailed architectural millwork and casework, including embossed in registration panels, coordinating surfaces and products. 

Scane Custom Cabinets, Brea, CA

Sales at the custom cabinet firm grew 7.7%.  Among the key steps, “We began producing high gloss acrylic cabinets in addition to our normal finish types. The high gloss material allowed us to try new techniques with our edgebanding machine.” Cross-training on the edgebander “has made us more versatile and better equipped to handle the growing demand for high gloss acrylic cabinetry,” said Zach Scane, designer/operations manager.

W.W. Wood Products, Dexter, MO

“We have put an emphasis on reacting quick to market trends so that our product is always fresh,” said Kenneth Carmode, VP sales & marketing at the made-to-order cabinetry firm. “Additionally, quality is of the utmost importance as consumer expectations are at all-time highs.” The strategy worked, as sales grew 9.5% in 2018, and look good for 2019.

Rosehill Wine Cellars Inc., Mississauga, ON

“Staying current with the latest trends in this industry,” helped the custom wine cellar producer grow sales 6.6%, noted Gary LaRose, president. “We’re also producing unique designs to showcase our skill set.”  

The Wood Cycle of Wisconsin, Oregon, WI

The “Tree to Table” author works with area arborists for trees, which he then mills and kiln dries. “From this wood we make almost anything,” said Paul Morrison, president. “Our top area of work is large live-edge dining and conference tables and other furniture, but our business model is more broadly ‘find a good client and make whatever they need in wood.’” 2018 sales grew 11.8%.

Thomas James Cabinetry, Bracebridge, ON

Developing a new line of outdoor kitchens, hiring employees and taking the lead in sales and marketing has kept Darragh Hughes, partner/owner, busy. Sales grew 50% for the indoor and outdoor kitchens and custom furniture firm.

Wetimber, SA de CV, Mexico City, Mexico

Sales grew 25.0% for the maker of wood facades and exteriors, doors and windows, as well as accent pieces for interiors. “Utilizing ‘value engineering’, we are able to deliver superior products at a reduced cost,” said Craig Caughlan, co-director. Primary woods used include accoya, white oak and cedar from sustainable growths.

Fine Creations Works in Wood LLC, Farmingdale, NY

“We specialize in architectural millwork, cabinetry and components, as well as CNC contract and specialty work and new product development,” said Michael Lohnes, owner. The company’s success also comes from “combining longtime woodworking experience from valued employees and modern technology and machinery,” he added.

Osborne Wood Products, Toccoa, GA

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the components maker supplies the cabinetry, remodeling and furniture markets. New products include those that mix media, such as acrylic or steel with wood. “We have come a long way since we started the business, and I look forward to building on our tradition of innovation and excellence for years to come,” said CEO Leon Osborne.

The 2019 WOOD 100 is sponsored by Pollmeier Inc.

Read more 2019 WOOD 100: Strategies for Success

Marketing Initiatives

Business Strategies

Productivity Enhancements

Technology Integration

Product Innovations

Customer Service

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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]