The Wood Image Inc.

Lithonia, GA

'95: $630,000 '96: $694,000

'96 Sales: +10.2% '97 Projection: +50%

Est. 1993 Employees: 12

Retail store fixtures

Ninety-five percent of The Wood Image's business comes from producing high-end wood store fixtures for Johnston & Murphy shoes. To meet the demands of its biggest customer's production schedule, The Wood Image outsources as many parts as possible and relies on the hard work of its employees, who are motivated by a financial incentive plan. "We have instituted a profit sharing plan for our employees that works out to be an average of 11Ú2 weeks of pay per employee per quarter," says Mark Sickler, president. "Every employee feels the success of the company and works hard and smart to ensure this extra money. Labor is the key, and can be the difference between success and mediocrity."



Woodland Container Corp.

Aitkin, MN

'95: $35,391,000 '96: $38,940,000

'96 Sales: +10.0% '97 Projection: N/A

Est. 1946 Employees: 356

Industrial packaging products

Woodland Container offers a full line of industrial packaging products to the OEM, recreational vehicle, wire and cable and military industries. Over the past year the company has gained a new president/COO, Jesse Atwell, although ownership remains the same. The company's plans for the future include focusing on its quality control methods so it can apply for ISO 9002 certification. This is Woodland Container's sixth WOOD 100 appearance in a row, during which time the company has achieved more than 200 percent growth.




Campbellsville, KY

'95: $39,200,000 '96: $43,098,000

'96 Sales: +9.9% '97 Projection: +16%

Est. 1983 Employees: 588

Interior trim/mouldings, stairs & stair parts, fireplace mantels and interior doors

Cox Interior knew that it had to increase its production capabilities. With sales rising by nearly 10 percent in 1996 and projections for another 16 percent growth in 1997, the company had to work more productively and so it made capital investments in optimizers, inverted routers, Doucet clamps and a gang ripsaw. Mike Helm, general manager of the company says Cox Interior "increased productivity to accommodate increased sales." Beyond increasing productivity with machinery, the company is also looking to improve employee skills by instituting a company-wide training program.




Taylor, MI

'95: $758,000,000 '96: $832,000,000

'96 Sales: +9.8% '97 Projection: +34%

Est. 1992 Employees: N/A


Masco Corp. is the largest player in the cabinet industry. With divisions already including Merillat, KraftMaid Cabinetry, Fieldstone and StarMark Inc., Masco's stock is set to rise even higher with the 1997 acquisitions of Texwood Industries (Woodstar Cabinets and Quality Cabinets) and The Alvic Group, a Spanish manufacturer and distributor of kitchen and bath cabinetry. 1997 sales figures for Texwood are estimated at $150 million, while Alvic anticipates sales in excess of $50 million. Projected sales for Masco's Cabinet Div. are estimated to top $1.1 billion in 1997, says Skip Cypert of Masco. "We intend to be an important player in the cabinet industry," says Cypert. In commenting on the division's success, he says, "We cover all price points and distribution channels. We also now have the broadest offerings in terms of species and styles."



Colonial crAft

St. Paul, MN

'95: $24,030,000 '96: $26,316,000

'96 Sales: +9.5% '97 Projection: +10%

Est. 1965 Employees: 240

Hardwood architectural millwork, door & window grilles, picture frames and component parts

"It is not easy being green," the saying goes, but at Colonial Craft it has at least been profitable. "Since becoming (green) certified by SmartWood, we have entered new markets never opened to us before," says Jeanne Germain, marketing/communications manager for Colonial Craft. "Our customer's European customers have begun to demand 'green' certified wood parts, which we alone have been able to supply. We are confident this trend will continue as environmental awareness increases within the industry."



A&K Millwork ltd.

Winnipeg, MB

'95: $7,530,000 '96: $8,226,000

'96 Sales: +9.2% '97 Projection: +6%

Est. 1971 Employees: 70

Hotel & institutional furniture, store fixtures and architectural millwork

This diverse manufacturer of furniture, fixtures and millwork has upgraded its production capabilities dramatically in the last couple years. Al Wainwright, controller, says that the company has purchased a Holz-Her 1447 edgebander, Therm-O-Web glue press and laminator and a Selco WNT-200 panel saw. The new production capacity has helped push sales to the point where the company has outgrown its space, resulting in the purchase of a new facility.


Sieling & Jones

New Freedom, PA

'95: $3,578,000 '96: $3,879,000

'96 Sales: +8.4% '97 Projection: +10%

Est. 1949 Employees: 58

Architectural and custom hardwood veneer faces & plywood

While purchasing state-of-the-art equipment (including its most recent purchase, a Heesemann 63-inch automatic widebelt sander) has helped his company grow, company president Edward Jones III says it took him several years to learn that people are the most important factor in producing a quality product. "I started this company with the illusion that if I purchased the best equipment we could produce a good product," Jones says. What he found out, however, was the it was the workers who "made the product good, not the equipment," Jones adds.



Ameriwood Furniture

Dowagiac, MI

'95: $105,998,000 '96: $114,547,000

'96 Sales: +8.1% '97 Projection: N/A

Est. 1928 Employees: 700

RTA furniture, fixtures and speakers

Over the last two years Ameriwood Furniture has upgraded its CNC edgebanding, routing, sawing and boring capabilities to become more efficient. It has also worked to develop products that would sell best in its distribution channels: office superstores, catalog showrooms, home centers and warehouse clubs. "We develop products from a marketing perspective that offer the consumer a high-perceived value," explains T. Scott Kearney, vice president of sales and marketing of Ameriwood.




Corydon, IN

'95: $51,311,000 '96: $55,292,000

'96 Sales: +7.8% '97 Projection: +10%

Est. 1895 Employees: 725

Dining and bedroom furniture

Keller, which previously specialized in producing solid oak or maple furniture, recently introduced cherry into its mix. "New product developments and introductions are contributing greatly to our success," says Danny Utz, vice president of finance. "Our new introductions are now ready for shipment within months instead of years. We have a task force that works out the bugs on paper before it even goes to production, and we test market all new introductions prior to showing them to our dealers. By the time we take it to the High Point Market, it has already been tested and proven to be another winner."



Artcraft Wood Products

Pittsburgh, PA

'95: $1,530,000 '96: $1,644,000

'96 Sales: +7.5% '97 Projection: +5-8%

Est. 1946 Employees: 20

White pine and oak moldings to small window manufacturers

In today's business-speak, Artcraft Wood Products has empowered its employees. But company president Paul Stalter puts it a little more succinctly: "We have put our employees on the top of our list. (By doing so,) we have been able to create a team atmosphere; the employees take more control and have more input and as a result, production increases and profit and benefits follow."



Eastland Industries ltd.

Minto, NB

'95: $4,400,000 '96: $4,700,000

'96 Sales: +6.8% '97 Projection: +15%

Est. 1969 Employees: 70

Cabinets and countertops which are sol d to the eastern United States and Canada

Over the last couple years, Eastland Industries has grown in part by offering more door styles, stains and constructions in its line of cabinets, and by trying to be more efficient in its work. To that end, the company has upgraded its computerized production and inventory controls so that it can track jobs and inventory more accurately. This means lower inventory costs and quicker production, says Eric DiCarlo, general manager.



Dawson Furniture Co. Inc.

Webb City, MO

'95: $23,328,000 '96: $24,730,000

'96 Sales: +6.4% '97 Projection: N/A

Est. 1983 Employees: 160

Solid wood household furniture

One of Dawson Furniture Co.'s newest looks for the home is its line of solid wood furniture in a Mexican/old world wrought iron look. According to company spokesman Jim Dawson, the new design, which features hand forged accents, has been generating "a lot of interest." To help the company keep up with demand it has purchased CNC machinery.



Riss Bros Inc.

Blackhawk, SD

'95: $5,521,000 '96: $5,810,000

'96 Sales: +5.23% '97 Projection: +15%

Est. 1947 Employees: 85

Hospitality furniture, kitchen & bath cabinetry, commercial case goods and cultured marble tops & tubs

Not long ago, this South Dakota manufacturer would have pointed to the cabinetry business as its biggest market. But today, that is not the case. "With the introduction of hospitality furniture for hotel/motels it has grown to be our number one single grossing product," says company President Joseph Riss. To help it keep up with production requirements, the company has also purchased a larger edgebander, a laminating press and a raised panel shaper and sander.



Beecher & Myers Co. Inc.

Dover, PA

'95: $804,000 '96: $841,000

'96 Sales: +4.6% '97 Projection: N/A

Est. 1953 Employees: 11

Custom wood products, skids, boxes, pallets & shipping crates, furniture components, wooden end caps, cores & spacers and CTS services

Versatility and teamwork are two terms that Holly Beecher, vice president of Beercher & Myers, uses to describe the sucess of the company. "As a small firm, B&M must be versatile in order to stay ahead of the competition," she says. "We produce a core group of products, but we are capable of producing various wood products because of our variety of woodworking machinery and CNC machines." As for teamwork, Beecher says the company frequently works hand-in-hand with its customers to get their new products and innovations directly to the market.



After Image Products

West Chicago, IL

'95: $217,000 '96: $227,000

'96 Sales: +4.6% '97 Projection: +10%

Est. 1991 Employees: 3

Office furniture

Bob Prehn says the key to his company's success is marketing -- getting After Image's name out in front of designers and architects. "We're working on developing another catalog with more products. Our first catalog was mostly laminate tops, and it did well. But now I want the designers and architects to realize that we make more than that. I think the catalog is important because having a list of my products with prices makes it convenient for my clients to turn to me when they need something." Over the next couple of years, Prehn wants to increase the volume his shop is doing and continue to make new contacts through the local AWI, where he is on the board of directors.



Creative Millwork of Ohio

Ashtabula, OH

'95: $2,610,000 '96: $2,700,000

'96 Sales: +3.4% '97 Projection: +10%

Est. 1987 Employees: 65

Wood window & door grilles

Creative Millwork of Ohio has become known for its wood window and door grilles since being founded in 1987. Over the last couple years, the company has expanded its product range and now offers aluminum and vinyl grille products, says Joseph Estoch, CEO.



r.d. cook custom cabinets

Columbus, OH

'95: $775,000 '96: $800,000

'96 Sales: +3.23% '97 Projection: +5-10%

Est. 1977 Employees: 10

Cabinets, countertops, solid surfacing and furniture

At R.D. Cook, employee training is a priority. "We started an employee apprenticeship program with classes on Fridays," says R.D. Cook."We went to four 10-hour days and now use Fridays as a training day for new employees. We work in metric because our method of construction is 32mm, but we found that many older cabinetmakers were used to (U.S.) measurements and resisted the change. We found it easier to train new people from the start than to retrain someone already established."



Valley City Mfg. Co. Ltd.

Dundas, ONT

'95: $19,428,000 '96: $20,058,000

'96 Sales: +3.2% '97 Projection: N/A

Est. 1884 Employees: 120

Architecturally-designed laboratory case goods & millwork and specialty seating

For the first time in its 113-year history, the company has surpassed the $20 million sales mark. Part of the reason for this is that this producer of high-end laboratory case goods and millwork has targeted a selected customer base "whose specialized needs we are best equipped to satisfy," says Robert Crockford, president.



Beverly Furniture Manufacturing Co.

Pico Rivera, CA

'95: $21,987,000 '96: $22,589,000

'96 Sales: +2.74% '97 Projection: +5

Est. 1954 Employees: 326

Upholstered, carved/exposed chairs, occasional/dining tables and case goods

Even in a compilation of company's with growing net sales, Beverly Furniture would stand out. Since 1991, the company has grown some 123 percent in sales. The company is looking to become more efficient in its production, and thus has introduced a production computerized flow system, as well as additional multi-spindle carving machines. "Our goal in 1997 is not increased sales, it is increased efficiencies to earn better margins and profits," says Mike Thakar, CEO.



CNC Industries, Inc.

Houston, TX

'95: $446,000 '96: $458,000

'96 Sales: +2.69% '97 Projection: +50

Est. 1992 Employees: 7

Kiosk and workstation components

The principals at CNC Industries must have heard the saying, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket," and taken it to heart. Their five-year-old component company has worked in a very diverse group of industries including: airlines, mining, solid waste disposal, offshore drilling and amusement parks. To help it meet its growing client list, the company has added new high-tech machinery, including a Komo 1605 CNC router, and upgraded its computer software. "By becoming more versatile and mastering the techniques of producing innovative components, we have expanded our abilities to meet the needs of an even broader client base," says company President Eric Eilers.



Skeeles Manufacturing, Inc.

Columbus, OH

'95: $420,000 '96: $430,000

'96 Sales: +2.4% '97 Projection: +63

Est. 1991 Employees: 15

Store fixtures and countertops

While Skeeles Manufacturing Inc. is near the tail end of this year's Wood 100, next year the companies at the top of the list better watch out. With a projected sales increase of 63 percent, the company is expecting its 'Best Ever' year in 1997. "In 1995, we began aggressively marketing our company," says Sales and Marketing Manager Rebecca Skeeles. "We hired people whose sole responsibility is sales and marketing. This dedicated effort has really helped get our name out there and establish new accounts. We established ourself as a dominant force in the Columbus area, and we will now focus on other regions," Skeeles adds.



Gurami Design Group

Wheeling, IL

'95: $842,000 '96: $859,350

'96 Sales: +2.0% '97 Projection: +29

Est. 1987 Employees: 7

Custom kitchens, vanities, fireplaces, home theaters, tables, buffets, media units, entry pieces, pool tables, cue stick holders, golf club organizers and business remodeling.

A true custom woodworker, the Gurami Design Group does 85 percent of its work for the home and 15 percent for the commercial marketplace. "Our overall sucess is due to being able to provide the products that the consumer needs," says Gurami Manasherov, owner of Gurami Design Group. "We have devleoped new acrylic and metallized finishes that are not yet available elsewhere. The consumer is enticed by a design that is unique, provides maximum function and is made of finishes that cannnot be found at our competition."




Brenham, TX

'95: $2,275,000 '96: $2,309,000

'96 Sales: +1.49% '97 Projection: +10

Est. 1991 Employees: 38

Custom residential & commercial cabinets and custom wooden raised panel & flat panel doors

In the last two years, Evans Cabinet and Door has invested in a new vertical panel saw, production dovetail cutter, band saw and many new hand tools, all in an attempt to increase productivity. The company has also examined the way it does things to look for ways to increase efficiency. "By examing job costs and tracking quality we have been able to identify processes that need improvement," says Joe Hickl, general manager of Evans Cabinet and Door Co. "Addtional machinery, improved product design and employee training will be used to increase productivity," he adds.



Hoffco Inc.

Wood Lake, MN

'95: $6,194,000 '96: $6,285,000

'96 Sales: +1.47% '97 Projection: +15

Est. 1983 Employees: 100

Wood kitchen cabinet accessories sold to larger kitchen cabinet manufacturers

For Hoffco, developing new products is an integral part of its success. Doug House, sales manager for Hoffco says the company wants to assist its clients in "introducing innovative cabinet accessories that enhance their marketing strategies." To increase its production efficiency and capabilities, Hoffco has purchased a CNC machining center and a CNC panel saw in the last two years.



California Contemporary

Davis, CA

'95: $432,000 '96: $436,000

'96 Sales: +1.0% '97 Projection: +N/A

Est. 1991 Employees: 15

Custom residential & office furniture

California Contemporary, a five-man, 3,800-square-foot shop, makes its third appearance in the Wood 100. Although it had minimal growth in 1996, the company has grown by more than 66 percent since 1993. One of the reasons it has consistently increased its net sales is that it has improved its production capabilities wiht the addition of new machinery, including a Mini Max SC-3 sliding table saw, says Frank Schlosser, owner/president.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.