26. CSM Cabinetry LLC.

Wallingford, CT

'96: $566,000

'97: $797,000

Sales '97: +40.8%

Projected '98: +55%

Est. 1995 Employees: 15

Commercial millwork and casework projects for general contractors and commercial clients

While difficult for member Chris Migliaro to pinpoint one factor that makes CSM a success, he was able to narrow the field down to organizational structure and employee dedication. The company allows for each member to have his own space to work and responsibilities. "Each partner can concentrate on his area of expertise and responsibility with limited involvement, at least, in the other areas," Migliaro said. According to Migliaro, this has helped the company by allowing the client support service to build very strong relationships. The dedication of its employees has helped CSM meet deadlines since its inception. "We can say that we have never been late in completing a project since 1995, with most of that honor being attributed to our employees," he said.

 

27. White County Mouldings

Cleveland, GA

'96: $3,370,000

'97: $4,725,000

Sales '97: +40.2%

Projected '98: N/A

Est. 1988 Employees: 40

Fingerjointing, S4S, gangripping, resawing and gluing, mouldings

By modernizing their equipment, sales manager Kellin Dobbs said White County Mouldings has increased production and profits. "The name of the game is to produce high-quality products in the most efficient manner," he said. In addition to the purchases of several machines, including a third Weinig moulder, employee training and an additional shift have contributed to an increase in White County's production. To keep the workers' morale up, Dobbs said, "We continually award employees for top performance and efficiency within their departments." This is White County's third consecutive appearance in the Wood 100.

 

28. Ritter Cabinet Mfg. Inc.

Tumwater, WA

'96: $4,216,000

'97: $5,892,000

Sales '97: +39.7%

Projected '98: (lower)

Est. 1973 Employees: 45

Commercial and institutional casework and fixtures

Owners Scott and Susan Ritter of Ritter Cabinet Mfg. credit a new edgebander and constant maintenance and upgrading of existing equipment for the company's increased efficiency and sales. "We are growing in sales while maintaining the same number of employees due to the type of equipment we add -- and just as important, the systems we have implemented," said president Scott Ritter. "A quality product and service keep our customers returning." The company is celebrating 25 years in business this month.

 

29. Professional Installation Network Inc.

Irving, TX

'96: $3,695,000

'97: $5,148,000

Sales '97: +39.3%

Projected '98: +25%

Est. 1992 Employees: 40

Wood store fixtures, retail store fixtures, counter systems, permanent point-of-purchase displays, contract cutting, edging, drilling and assembly

Sales director Harry Frnka sees only one main problem for the continuing growth of Professional Installation Network: the unemployment rate. "With very low unemployment in our region, recruiting will have to expand geographically." While finding the employees may be difficult, keeping them won't be, according to Frnka. "We extend training programs, offer incentives for quality, work ethic, attendance and attitude. We also set up employee bonus program for referrals and extend benefits to retain highly-valued workers," he said. Recent machinery purchases include: two Weeke machining centers, a Homag edgebander and a Ligmatech case clamp from Stiles Machinery, a Koch dowel insertion center and a high-production laminating line.

 

30. C.M. Wood Works

Deerfield, IL

'96: $185,000

'97: $256,000

Sales '97: +38.4%

Projected '98: +15-20%

Est. 1984 Employees: 4

Custom entertainment centers, kitchens and casework for residential and commercial applications

Chris Mazurk, owner of C.M. Wood Works, says the new Holz-Her point-to-point he bought recently has been instrumental in helping his business to grow. "The accuracy and flexibility of the machine were the keys behind the decision to purchase the point-to-point," Mazurk said. C.M. also purchased a case clamp, new vacuum system and Cabinet Vision software. Future plans including implementing a bar code system using Cabinet Vision software.

 

31. Leininger Cabinet & Woodworking

Lexington, KY

'96: $1,264,000

'97: $1,745,000

Sales '97: +38.1%

Projected '98: N/A

Est. 1950 Employees: 20

Custom manufacturer of architectural woodwork and casework with approximately a 70/30 split between commercial and high-end residential. Products include cabinets, both wood and P-lam, custom doors and windows, mouldings, trim, desks, fixtures, countertops, etc.

"We have increased the speed at which we can produce large runs of cabinets," said Leininger vice president Jim Leininger. With the economy in an upswing, the company has been able to successfully bid for large jobs and meet the schedules required to complete the projects. The company is currently operating at full capacity and is looking to expand its assembly operations by 16,000 square feet. "We're right at the point that if we had more space we could tackle bigger projects," Leininger said.

 

32. Lexington Mfg. Inc.

Minneapolis, MN

'96: $5,730,000

'97: $7,860,000

Sales '97: +37.2%

Projected '98: +60%

Est. 1958 Employees: 87

Contract manufacturer and OEM supplier specializing in office furniture, seating components, cabinet components, etc.

Lexington Mfg. began in the late 1950s when George Dimke began building architectural panels in his garage. Today it's a $7.8 million company with 87 employees and making its sixth appearance in the Wood 100. Marketing manager Bill DeWitt says a new market focus is behind Lexington's strong showing in 1997. "Through market focus and the development of strategic relationships with customers and vendors, we have been able to improve and expand our core competencies."

 

33. Piccini Industries

Suffern, NY

'96: $2,426,000

'97: $3,280,000

Sales '97: +35.2%

Projected '98: +35%

Est. 1989 Employees: 36

Casework for schools, hospitals, law and corporate offices

The shop supervisor at Piccini Industries believes in consistently training and educating employees, according to vice president Richard Piccininni. "This has enabled our production to grow tremendously and we have extremely low turnover," Piccininni said. The company is scheduled to move into a new 21,000-square-foot facility later this year and recently purchased a new line boring machine, case clamp and dowel inserter.

 

34. Dodd Woodworking

Ashland, MA

'96: $448,000

'97: $602,000

Sales '97: +34.4%

Projected '98: +300%

Est. 1987 Employees: 7

Designers, builders and installers of unique custom cabinets

Timothy Mutrie, vice president of operations for Dodd Woodworking, says organization and quality control are his first priorities. With this in mind, he talked his woodworking partners into hiring an operations manager to take care of the business side of the company. Mutrie says he has enjoyed watching and participating in the expansion of the company. "It's been an exciting experience," he said.

 

35. LayneCorp Architectural Millwork Inc.

Kingwood, TX

'96: $1,656,000

'97: $2,220,000

Sales '97: +34.1%

Projected '98: +25%

Est. 1984 Employees: 40

Manufacturer and installer of custom commercial casework and architectural woodwork. Designer and manufacturer of retail displays and fixtures

Predicting the company's best year ever, LayneCorp vice president Don Looney looks to past additions to the company to make it a continuing success. "The addition of a CNC machine center, beam saw and material handling equipment with CAM interface has greatly reduced manual handling of raw materials, parts and finished goods. It has increased productivity 30% to 40% and has greatly reduced errors and waste," he said. Upgrades are also planned for the employee benefits package as are increased background checking and substance abuse screening.

 

36. Grant's Woodshop Inc.

Charlotte, MI

'96: $739,000

'97: $985,000

Sales '97: +33.3%

Projected '98: +5%

Est. 1975 Employees: 12

Custom production CNC routing

Grant's Woodshop is appearing in the Wood 100 for the third time in four years. A new CMS router has increased efficiency, says owner Don Grant, and a Northwood CNC router purchased a few years ago is now running around the clock. Grant, like many others in his position, is concerned about the lack of woodworking skills among younger workers. "Unemployment is low. We're just taking it as it comes," he said.

 

37. Eagle Industries Inc.

Bowling Green, KY

'96: $25,362,000

'97: $33,439,000

Sales '97: +31.8%

Projected '98: +20%

Est. 1993 Employees: 500

Oak entertainment centers, hutch buffets, curios, book shelves, desks, file cabinets, bedrooms

Eagle Industries Inc. significantly expanded its product line this year with the addition of an imported line of products (including desks, office chairs and dining tables and chairs) and a domestically manufactured line of curio cabinets. The company continued to expand its manufactured lines of home office and home entertainment products. Eagle increased its presence in the Southwest and Northwest regions of the country, while continuing to add customers in its existing markets. To keep up with increased demand, the company expanded its facilities by 60% and purchased additional automated production equipment including a rough mill optimizing system, CNC double-end tenoner and an angular panel system. The investments will help Eagle "keep its prices low by continually improving efficiency and quality in our manufacturing processes," company CFO Bill Garrison said.

 

38. Colonial Wood Craft Inc.

Bristol, CT

'96: $1,234,000

'97: $1,624,000

Sales '97: +31.6%

Projected '98: +20%

Est. 1977 Employees: 18

Architectural cabinetry and millwork for schools, town halls, churches, libraries, etc.

Colonial president Bruce Schultz feels the company's recent success is due in part to the addition of new equipment to do some of the work previously done by employees. The company added new Cut-Rite optimization and labeling software, as well as a new sliding table saw, an SCMI Tech 90 point-to-point, and an Auto CAD 14, which have increased its productivity and sales. "Using machine operators, instead of cabinetmakers, to do all machining allows the cabinetmakers to do custom work and final fitting," said Schultz.

 

39. CNT Fixture Co. Inc.

Pittsburgh, PA

'96: $1,811,000

'97: $2,362,000

Sales '97: +30.4%

Projected '98: +15%

Est. 1987 Employees: 27

Manufacturers of modular and linear display cases for jewelry retailers, credit counters and front window displays

CNT's general manager Richard Rhoads likes to keep all parts of the company's operation in-house in an effort to keep costs down. "We do not outsource or sub-contract any portion of the work, but produce everything in-house," said Rhoads. "We can say that many styles of our cases cost the same today as they did 8 years ago." Production capacity was improved with the recent purchases of a 157,000-square-foot facility, a CNC router (its third), a Holz-Her vertical panel saw and line boring equipment.

 

40. Smith & Roan Inc. - dba Royal Cabinets

Pomona, CA


www.royalcabinets.com

'96: $15,483,000

'97: $20,121,000

Sales '97: +29.9%

Projected '98: +30%

Est. 1984 Employees: 500

Manufacturers and installers of cabinetry for new home developers and for retail home centers

Royal Cabinets' growth can be partially attributed to its recent purchase of a production facility in Mexico. "With the acquisition of the facility in Tijuana, Mexico, the company is able to combine the cost-effective labor pool available there with productivity improvements generated by the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment over the last three years," CFO Gus Danjoi said. The Mexican plant also helped solve one of the problems Royal Cabinets had in employee retention. "[In Tijuana], we are able to offer an above-average compensation package yet remain competitive overall," said Danjoi. Last year, Smith & Roan was ranked #37 in the Wood 100.

 

41. Muscanell Millworks Inc.

Cortez, CO

'96: $266,000

'97: $345,000

Sales '97: +29.7%

Projected '98: +50%

Est. 1986 Employees: 7

Manufacturer of premium-length, precisely milled plank flooring and decorative wooden boxes using domestic burlwoods

"We do not have a large advertising budget to spend on flashy literature or color ads for our flooring at this point," said secretary/treasurer Karen Harbaugh. "Our best advertising is the consistent high quality of our floors, produced by employees who are skilled and conscientious." In the event of an economic downturn, Harbaugh said she hopes customers will continue to choose Muscanell first. "By developing strong relationships with distributors now, they will rely on us as a tried-and-true supplier of flooring," she said. To increase productivity, Muscanell has purchased a number of machines including a custom-made end matcher, chop saws and scissor lifts. This is Muscanell's second appearance in the Wood 100.

 

42. Designer Doors Inc.

Burghill, OH


www.designer-doors.com

'96: $394,000

'97: $510,000

Sales '97: +29.4%

Projected '98: +50%

Est. 1985 Employees: 16

Manufacturer of solid hardwood interior and exterior raised-panel doors, specializing in interior doors

Since early 1995, Owner Ron Seidle Jr. and Designer Doors have dropped the rest of their millwork products, including mouldings, boards, stair parts and have gone completely to doors. "Our production is now totally geared to interior doors, with some additional production in exterior doors and out plant is laid out specifically for door production," Seidle said. And the door business seems to be working quite well. Predicting the company's best year ever, Seidle recently purchased more shapers with power feeders, conveyer systems and other items to increase the efficiency in production, as well as computers in the office with parts lists printed for the plant.

 

43. Top Drawer Components Inc.

Gilbert, AZ


www.topdrwr.com

'96: $1,186,000

'97: $1,530,000

Sales '97: +29.0%

Projected '98: +25%

Est. 1989 Employees: 29

Dovetail drawer boxes

Two years ago, Top Drawer Components president and owner Brian Emerson took a look at the direction of his company: "In order to grow, we needed to identify the areas where we were most successful, and concentrate on them," he said. This philosophy has translated into steady growth and has landed the company in the Wood 100 each of the last three years. With an eye on future growth, Top Drawer purchased a Holz-Her Genesis 2 edgebander and two Omec dovetailers. Like many of his colleagues, Emerson is concerned with employee recruitment and retention and plans to develop an improved training program and implement an incentive-based bonus program.

 

44. America's Finest Woodworking Team Inc.

Lexington, KY

'96: $2,796,000

'97: $3,605,000

Sales '97: +28.9%

Projected '98: +10%

Est. 1994 Employees: 40

Custom high-end painted, natural wood and laminated store fixtures, custom case goods for offices, labs and schools

In a very competitive market, a company needs people it can rely on and trust to do a good job, according to company president Bill Katz. "When it gets crunch time, we can count on the workers to stay until the job is done," he said. To aid in production, Katz recently purchased a CNC panel saw and a CNC router and expanded its engineering department. "We produce very high-quality, high-tech finishes using polyesters and polyurethanes," Katz said. The company ranked #2 in the 1997 survey.

 

45. Gilmore Inc.

Grand Rapids, MI

'96: $3,328,000

'97: $4,266,000

Sales '97: +28.2%

Projected '98: +10-15%

Est. 1983 Employees: 60

Wooden office furniture

Planning for his best year ever in terms of sales, company president Scott Gilmore looks forward to the future, especially when he recalls who he has on his side. "We have a really excellent core group of skilled craftsmen who are dedicated and motivated to make a quality product," said Gilmore. But Gilmore, like many in the business, is concerned with the lack skills in younger woodworkers. To combat this problem, Gilmore Inc. has instituted more in-house training and development than in the past and is working with schools to attract skilled workers.

 

46. R.D. Cook Co.

Columbia, OH

'96: $695,000

'97: $886,000

Sales '97: +27.5%

Projected '98: +10%

Est. 1977 Employees: 10

Commercial and residential cabinets, counters and furniture

R. Dan Cook of R.D. Cook Co. says the biggest challenge facing his company is finding and retaining new woodworkers. "We have instituted an apprenticeship program where we teach the principles of cabinetmaking," Cook said. "We found that using 'experienced' help was a problem as we do everything in metric and people who were already trained did not want to make the switch." This training has paid off in increased efficiency and better quality products produced at a lower cost. The company is also investing in machinery through recent purchases of a Castle floor mounted pocket screw machine, a Morbidelli U-550 point-to-point boring machine and an Ayen dowel shooter.

 

47. Dimension Millworks

San Antonio, TX

'96: $2,948,000

'97: $3,749,000

Sales '97: 27.2%

Projected '98: N/A

Est. 1980 Employees: 45

Custom millwork and corporate and commercial interior doors

The addition of overhead routers, a Holz-Her edgebander and Pattern Systems software in recent years have increased production and allowed last year's list topper to remain strong. A new 60 to 90 minute fire-rated door is an improvement over previous 20 minute fire-rated ones, and is another reason for Dimension's continued success, according to the company.

 

48. Blackhawk Furniture Inc.

Riverside, CA

www.blackhawkfurniture.com

'96: $19,790,000

'97: $25,155,000

Sales '97: +27.1%

Projected '98: +15%

Est. 1983 Employees: 290

Contemporary and traditional bedroom furniture

After 12 years of building a reputation as a supplier of midline contemporary oak bedroom furniture, Blackhawk introduced a midline traditional dark oak collection, which has expanded to become over 30% of its sales, according to president and CEO William Jahn. "Blackhawk closely monitors economic and style trends and continues to develop new products and open new accounts, while nurturing existing business," Jahn said. The company's recent machine purchases include a Doucet electronic operator 60-section clamp carrier, a Mereen-Johnson double-end tenoner, a Viet Italia Challenge 321 widebelt sander, a C.R. Onsrud inverted router and an Adwood-Cehisa edgebander.

 

49. Westhampton Woodworks Inc.

Westhampton Beach, NY

'96: $209,000

'97: $265,000

Sales '97: +26.8%

Projected '98: +25-30%

Est. 1990 Employees: 2

Custom cabinetry to builders, architects, designers and individual clients

Marc Rothenberg and his wife are the only two employees of Westhampton Woodworks -- and he likes it that way. After leaving a job on Wall Street, Rothenberg took his woodworking hobby and created a business that has grown beyond his imagination. "My biggest trouble, though, is getting quality wood," he said. Originally receiving high-quality, 8-foot cherry wood, the shipments have been coming later, quality is lower and the stock is usually shorter than before, according to Rothenberg. He adds that he will continue to look for better quality lumber because "I'm in a high-end business, and the product must be perfect."

 

50. Custom Wood Furniture Inc.

Newton, NJ

'96: 660,000

'97: 832,000

Sales '97: +26.1%

Projected '98: +40%

Est. 1989 Employees: 18

High-quality custom designed office fit-ups

In a highly competitive market such as architectural furniture, companies have to stand out to be noticed. While not the top company in the field, company president John Kweselait said he believes his custom wood furniture is winning its fair share of the pie. "We have several strategies in place which will help us land an even greater portion in the upcoming year," said Kweselait. Those plans include expanding their recent entrance into the area of custom lab furniture such as epoxy resin tops. CWF has also grown through its relationships with architects such as Arthur J. Sikula & Assoc., who specializes in liturgical architecture. This is CWF's third appearance in the Wood 100.

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