StratA Design Inc.
Traverse City, MI
'95: $1,944,000 '96: $2,363,000
'96 Sales: +21.6% '97 Projection: +20%
Est. 1988 Employees: 28
Laminate casework and store fixtures, solid surface fabrication and OEM components
"Our customer communications program includes strong focus on retaining and increasing annual sales with existing customers ... through frequent reviews of the customers' individual jobs-in-progress and our overall progress in managing their needs," says President Charles T. Cady. Purchasing new production, inventory and job cost software has also made a difference, and Cady says he will continue to upgrade company technology.
Woodrich Furniture, Inc.
'95: $874,000 '96: $1,059,000
'96 Sales: +21.4% '97 Projection: +35%
Est. 1963 Employees: 12
Executive wood case goods, custom furniture and millwork
Following last year's 50% growth, Woodrich now lays claim to an additional 20% gain in profits. According to President Fred Davies, the company's marketing programs and new product development have involved "further development of our U.S. sales base and (giving us a) greater access to pursue sector business with custom case goods." Future efforts to modernize the plant and restructure product lines for greater efficiency and lower prices are in the works. Davies says the purchase of a CNC point-to-point boring machine, panel saw and hardwood edgebander will also aid productivity.
Fleetwood Industries Inc.
'95: $7,000,000 '96: $8,487,000
'96 Sales: +21.2% '97 Projection: +25%
Est. 1970 Employees: 75
Wood & metal custom store fixtures
Fleetwood has had significant success this year marketing the company's capabilities to the store fixtures industry. According to General Manager Robert Mervine, sales growth comes from the "increased ability to show what Fleetwood Industries has accomplished in the production of quality products and the extrusion of our comprehensive customer support services." This is Fleetwood's fifth appearance in the Wood 100, and Mervine said he anticipates further appearances now that the company has purchased a new sander and various welding systems.
Essany Custom Cabinetry
'95: $851,000 '96: $1,030,000
'96 Sales: +21.03% '97 Projection: +5%
Est. 1966 Employees: 13
Residential & commercial cabinetry
Essany is making its fifth appearance in the Wood 100. The company was forced by the 1993 Mississippi River Flood to move into a 17,000-square-foot facility (twice the size of the original plant) and to increase production and productivity. Retooling and new equipment, including a Homag EspaÃƒÂ±a panel saw, have helped the company continue to grow since its last appearance in the Wood 100 back in 1995.
Oak Craft Inc.
'95: $12,513,000 '96: $15,140,000
'96 Sales: +20.99% '97 Projection: +6%
Est. 1983 Employees: 186
Semi-custom frame-style kitchen & bath cabinets in oak & maple
According to Gregory Johnson, marketing director for Oak Craft, "Our ability to improve efficiency and increase productivity has allowed us to keep up with demand. Our on-going systems evaluation and improvements contribute to this efficiency. We have expanded our product offering to meet design/market demands and implemented new in-house personal and professional development programs." Also improving the company's efficiency is a new CNC door machine and refined computer information system to decrease turnaround time.
Bruewer Woodwork Mfg. Co.
'95: $9,037,000 '96: $10,932,000
'96 Sales: +20.97% '97 Projection: +2.5%
Est. 1963 Employees: 69
Architectural woodwork for the healthcare industry, P.O.P. displays and fixtures
Secretary Ralph Bruewer has good advice on how to increase productivity and keep customers happy: "If they need something built in one or two weeks, figure out how to get it done. Don't use the standard 'It will be six weeks.' They will remember you the next time." New machinery has also improved Bruewer's efficiency, including a point-to-point boring machine, CNC moulder and panel saw, and a finishing oven.
Oklahoma City, OK
'95: $15,098,000 '96: $18,125,000
'96 Sales: +20.1% '97 Projection: +17%
Est. 1988 Employees: 215
Store fixtures, unfinished craftwood & furniture, and wood picture frame mouldings
Approximately 70 percent of Worldwood's wood manufacturing business is store fixtures for Hobby Lobby and Mardel Christian Bookstores, including register check-stands, feature tables, custom-framing counters and adjustable shelving. Over the past two years, Worldwood has invested in several pieces of new glass equipment as well as woodworking machinery including a Brandt KD54 edgebander, a Morbidelli point-to-point boring machine and a Holzma HPP11 Econo Lift panel saw. "Fixture sales have continually increased each year with Hobby Lobby adding more and even larger stores and expanding existing locations," says Steve Wynn, general manager. "In addition, we continue to take on any new project Hobby Lobby or Mardel presents us with, which is the number one reason why we are growing so rapidly. Our goal is to build or produce whatever they want us to."
MILL-RITE WOODWORKING CO.
Pinellas Park, FL
'95: $3,975,000 '96: $4,750,000
'96 Sales: +19.5% '97 Projection: +14%
Est. 1986 Employees: 57
Custom architectural millwork and custom plastic laminate and/or wood casework
According to Meg Lashley, marketing director at Mill-Rite, the company is now focusing its efforts on building larger projects. "In the early years of Mill-Rite, a large project was the $100,000 contract. However, as Mill-Rite proved to the general contractors, architects and owners our ability to perform, larger projects were awarded to us. Today, our typical project size is in excess of $500,000," says Lashley. Mill-Rite recently signed its largest contract to date: a $1.6 million project for the architectural millwork and casework for the new Tampa Stadium. Lashley says the company is also instituting its own apprenticeship program to increase employee skills.
GRAHAM MILLWORK CO.
Des Moines, IA
'95: $1,900,000 '96: $1,595,000
'96 Sales: +19.12% '97 Projection: +10-15%
Est. 1988 Employees: 25
Architectural woodwork, custom cabinets, millwork and solid surface
According to Mark Rasmussen, general manager, Graham Millwork's marketing program has been a large part of its recent success. "We have been busy putting together a new company brochure to help tell and illustrate our success story. The brochure will stress our commitment to quality and show that we are insistent on customer satisfaction," says Rasmussen. Graham Millwork is also currently involved on a committee with the Des Moines Area Community College to set up a regional architectural millwork training program for Iowa and Nebraska to increase the skills of woodworkers in the area.
OFFICE CHAIRS INC.
Santa Fe Springs, CA
'95: $5,104,000 '96: $6,079,000
'96 Sales: +19.10% '97 Projection: +20%
Est. 1974 Employees: 68
Office Chairs Inc. has appeared in seven of the eight annual WOOD 100 reports, achieving 216 percent growth since 1989. In the past couple of years, the company has developed a new line of 11 different ergonomic office chairs. Office Chairs has also recently purchased a 55,000-square-foot building on four acres of land that it will be moving into in November 1997.
Partridge River Inc.
Hoyt Lakes, MN
'95: $5,129,000 '96: $5,995,000
'96 Sales: +16.9% '97 Projection: +25%
Est. 1987 Employees: 75
Hardwood dimension products
"Our new equipment and dedicated workforce have pushed productivity to an all-time high. A strong focus on customer service has permitted continued growth with established clients and the ability to attract new ones," says President Andrew Richey of the company's sales growth. Partridge River recently purchased optimizing rough mill equipment and a fingerjointer and is working hard to be able to provide a "higher level of service to customers" than the competition can offer, Richey says.
E--Z Kitchens Inc.
'95: $485,000 '96: $565,000
'96 Sales: +16.5% '97 Projection: +12%
Est. 1987 Employees: 8
Custom cabinet refacing and production cabinetry
President Earl Zei says the company's success comes from quality control, but that "it's not so much improvements made, but a continuation of our original efforts to be the highest quality technicians and use the highest quality products and materials. This reputation distinguishes us from our competition -- people are willing to pay more to receive more value." The company will also be initiating a series of new training programs this fall to maintain its technical quality.
WHITE COUNTY MOULDINGS
'95: $3,246,000 '96: $3,370,000
'96 Sales: +14.9% '97 Projection: +35%
Est. 1989 Employees: 30
Handrails, stair parts, louver components and hardwood mouldings
White County Mouldings' capabilities include fingerjointing, S4S, gang ripping, resawing and gluing -- most of which are a result of machinery purchases the company has made over the past three years. "Our implementation of new equipment has obviously had a major impact on our increased productivity," says Kellin Dobbs, sales representative. "In some areas we have tripled our daily production levels. For example, our medium production fingerjointer and Taylor clamp carrier system have enabled us to produce 10,000 to 15,000 three-ply handrail blanks per day. This alone has made us a competitive player in the handrail business." Dobbs also says that the company is continually focusing on increasing employee skills. "Even with the best and most efficient equipment, the level of expertise and training of employees is of the utmost importance."
IWP Displays & Components
'95: $1,509,000 '96: $1, 728,000
'96 Sales: +14.5% '97 Estimate: +20%
Est. 1981 Employees: 25
Wood & plastic components and permanent point-of-purchase displays & fixtures
IWP strives to improve productivity in both the shop and office in order to maximize throughput. "Through improvements in planning, reduced setup times, upgrades of support equipment and software and ongoing employee training we have doubled the capacity of our shop over the last five years," says President Conrad Eggan. "We have also stepped up our marketing programs to ensure our sales growth is in line with our capacity growth." Recent upgrades include a point-to-point drilling machine, improved tooling and a contour edgebanding machine.
'95: $570,000 '96: $652,000
'96 Sales: +14.4% '97 Projection: +12%
Est 1987 Employees: 12
High-end custom cabinet doors, drawer fronts, end panels and wainscoting
Twenty-one percent growth in two years is good work for a small company that in 10 years has only run two ads, according to owner John Hutchinson. "Customers are a big part of our success, not only for their loyalty and continued business, but for the fact that they are our marketing program. They are the ones that send us our new customers each year." New additions to the shop include a Unique Model 2700 CNC door machine and insert tooling, as well as an air-conditioning system for more comfortable conditions and climate-controlled production.
Santori Woodworking Inc.
'95: $1,400,000 '96: $1,600,000
'96 Sales: +14.3% '97 Projection: +20%
Est. 1975 Employees: 25
Commercial & residential custom cabinets, drawers, countertops and casework
Started 20 years ago as a small family business, the company continues to expand into the commercial market, taking on major projects statewide. "Investing in the new machines (an IDM edgebander, CNC point-to-point machines, an SCMI Alfa CNC panel saw and office computers and software including Patterns Systems programs) has allowed us to keep up and continue to maintain quality workmanship and productivity. Last year we hired another salesman to give our customers more choices and better service," Secretary Scott Santori says.
Atlantic Store Fixtures & Design Inc.
'95: $1,046,000 '96: $1,190,000
'96 Sales: +13.8% '97 Projection: +45%
Est. 1991 Employees: 13
Retail store fixtures and institutional pharmacy equipment
Atlantic recently expanded its shop by 12,000 square feet and added a Holz-Her CNC drilling machine and sliding table saw. Wade Lober, president, says Atlantic's success is "a combination of good equipment and a good work force, allowing Atlantic to produce our product faster and maintain a high level of quality."
Island Woodcrafts Ltd.
'95: $1,527,000 '96: $1,732,000
'96 Sales: +13.4% '97 Projection: +12-15%
Est. 1973 Employees: 19
Residential cabinets, home entertainment centers and custom furniture
Clifford Granitzki, president, says the biggest reason for the company's continued growth is "our emphasis on customer satisfaction. We build, deliver and install high-quality products at a competitive rate and in a timely manner. This is a family business with three brothers, a sister and parents who taught us to treat each job as if it were our own. All this would be impossible without dedicated employees." The installation crew has benefitted recently from new cellular phones, vehicles and small tools.
'95: $3,375,000 '96: $3,821,000
'96 Sales: +13.2% '97 Projection: +10%
Est. 1978 Employees: 48
Finished & unfinished wooden mouldings
Boyce Highlands, making its sixth straight appearance in the Wood 100, continues to increase its sales by frequently developing and introducing new products. "Our market requires a constant change of product," President Steve Malinsky says. A new embossing machine, Makor splitter and Makor foiler have kept the company in high production, Malinsky says.
W W Wood Products Inc.
'95: $9,567,000 '96: $10,816,000
'96 Sales: +13.1% '97 Projection: +15%
Est. 1977 Employees: 155
All-wood custom kitchens and cabinets
President Ron Wunderlich says the company's marketing program has brought it "increased sales by carefully selecting sales reps and new customers. We increased our territory with independent representatives throughout the eastern half of the United States." W W Wood Products kept up with increased demand with its new 7-head Timesaver sander, Newman S282 finish planer and Weinig moulders.
El Cajon, CA
'95: $28,477,000 '96: $32,037,000
'96 Sales: +12.5% '97 Projection: N/A
Est. 1981 Employees: 401
Hardwood home office and entertainment furniture
This is Martin Furniture's third consecutive appearance in the WOOD 100. The company has achieved more than 75 percent growth since 1993, and continues to plan for its future growth. Recent purchases include a CNC router, CNC rough mill saws, software, turbine spray pumps, a planer/sander and a point-to-point boring machine. President Gil Martin says that this increased productivity is driving his company's growth. "Building a good, consistent product that sells well and being able to manage the growth of increased demand in our production are critical to our company's success," says Martin.
ORIGINAL CRAFTS INC.
(dba stumpy originals)
'95: $468,000 '96: $520,000
'96 Sales: +11.1% '97 Projection: +3-5%
Est. 1978 Employees: 8
Wood souvenirs, wood & wire puzzles, twig pencils & pens
Stumpy Originals, manufacturer of the horseshoe puzzle and the pocket toothpick holder, has had to work on increasing its productivity over the past few years to keep up with demand. "We've been using types of wood that are easier to work with, we've been having the lumber supply company size the boards before delivery instead of doing it ourselves, and the managers are going through trial runs before letting employees do the work so they can figure out the most efficient process," says Ramona Cook, vice president. Cook also says that her company is focusing on trying to find good employees who will come in and work hard for a full 8-hour shift.
Eden Prairie, MN
'95: $2,722,000 '96: $3,019,000
'96 Sales: +10.9% '97 Projection: +20%
Est. 1990 Employees: N/A
Store fixtures and wood & component parts
Tim Burgett, vice president of Burgetts Inc., says that over the past three years his company has benefitted the most from new product development. "New product development has been, and will continue to be, our key for success," says Burgett. "Developing new products to work with the most advanced technology available has helped us decrease assembly costs, improve quality and provide our customers with products that suit their needs." Burgetts has also been developing a program to increase employee skills whereby consistent methods of production and training are established to help the employee see how quality items are produced. "Having employees 'sign off' on products individually also helps the employee see how important quality is," says Burgett.
Elk Valley woodworking inc.
'95: $105,000 '96: $116,000
'96 Sales: +10.5% '97 Projection: +5%
Est. 1986 Employees: 5
Trophy plaques, porch columns, computerized engraving services
Elk Valley ships its walnut, oak, cherry and mahogany trophy plaques into nine states and prides itself on the quality of the work it produces. "Almost half of our customers have come from other customers who have praised the quality and finish of our products. We are extremely proud of our product and our quality control," says Joe Cain. It is this reputation for high-quality finishing that has Elk Valley concerned about VOC regulations. "We hope to go to water-based finishes, and we hope we can keep our quality when we do," says Cain.
harbinger industries Inc.
'95: $3,386,000 '96: $3,736,000
'96 Sales: +10.3% '97 Projection: +10-12%
Est. 1982 Employees: 52
Retail fixtures & P.O.P. displays, architectural woodwork, custom corporate furniture, contract component manufacturing
Over the past two years, Harbinger has added a 5-ft by 10-ft hot press laminating line and has increased its warehouse/ manufacturing space by 25,000 square feet, but President Michael Quirk says his company's success is primarily due to his employees. "As our company grows, the competitive edge we enjoy comes primarily from the creative solutions of our employees. We have provided them with a first-class facility and state-of-the-art machinery, but it continues to be their creative and innovative use of these tools that solves our challenges," says Quirk. To encourage continued self-improvement among its employees, Harbinger offers an educational assistance program that provides tuition reimbursement to employees.
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