WOOD 100 CLASS OF 1996

North Haven, CT
'94: $675,000 '95: $1,436,000
'95 Sales: +112.7% '96 Projection: +50%
Est. 1991 Employees: 28
Case goods, kitchen cabinets, refacing & clocks
As this report was being finalized, James Bonito, president/owner of Bonito Mfg., announced the purchase of the 170-year-old New England Clock Co. The other news is that for the first time in the seven-year history of the WOOD 100, we have a repeat No. 1 performer. Bonito Mfg. more than doubled its sales in 1995, an impressive follow up to 150 percent growth in 1994. Bonito is also bullish about 1996 and 1997, especially because the purchase of New England Clock gives Bonito Mfg. national distribution for all of its products. Bonito's secret is basic: "Listen to what your customer is saying, do it right the first time, and do it on time." Bonito cites an example of taking the extra steps in customer service. "Consider the 15 different variations of the color white that are out there. We take the time to make sure that the client understands exactly which white they're getting." To help gear up for clock case making, Bonito has added an SCMI beam saw and an SCMI Supertech CNC router.

Dallas, TX
'94: $189,000 '95: $399,000
'95 Sales: +111.1% '96 Projection: 100%
Est. 1994 Employees: 15
High-end custom furniture, reproductions and furniture restoration
JLM Custom Furniture has found a lucrative niche in the high-end furniture market. James Manheim, CEO, says that 90 percent of his company's business is derived from making custom furniture, including reproductions. JLM augments its work restoring furniture. "We have been very aggressive in our marketing efforts," Manheim says. Among the equipment that has helped JLM fill its orders is a carving machine and a vacuum press. Manheim adds that he is looking at the possibility of converting to water-based finishing materials.

Freeland, PA
'94: $125,000 '95: $235,000
'95 Sales: +88.0% '96 Projection: N/A
Est. 1967 Employees: 6
Cabinets, countertops, mouldings, hand rails & chair rails
Arthur L. Young, president of Freeland Pattern Works, strives for increased productivity and in the past year reached that goal with his small cabinet shop. "We looked for short cuts and easier ways to handle our materials without compromising quality or safety," Young says. The company added new sanders, drills, a sliding table saw, routers and router tables with jigs. Besides cabinets, Freeland's production includes nurse's stations, bars and countertops. Equipped to handle more production, Young says the company tries its best to stay competitive. "We are bidding more jobs and hoping for the best. Getting the jobs is the top priority - then we coordinate them."

Vacaville, CA
'94: $695,000 '95: $1,304,000
'95 Sales: +87.6% '96 Projection: +35%
Est. 1992 Employees: 22
Casework, store fixtures, mouldings, doors, millwork & architectural woodwork
Last year's No. 3 WOOD 100 company broadened its market and modified its name (from N2 Construction Services) while remaining a top producer. In addition, N2 dramatically expanded its shop from 7,500 square feet to 30,000 square feet. Barry Nash, vice president, said N2, whose principals are former general contractors, has increased its customer market base while reducing production and labor costs through automation. "Our production capabilities now include doors and mouldings in addition to millwork, casework and store fixtures. We've purchased a Weinig moulder, a new shaper, drill press, boring machines and clamp press tables," Nash says. He attributes repeat customer sales to a strong commitment to quality and service. "We've added a sales team and structured a marketing program, which has to led to a two-fold improvement in sales. Led by Bob Hausler, our sales team has a goal of ensuring that our clients are satisfied."

Houston, TX
'94: $241,000 95: $446,000
'95 Sales: +85.1% '96 Projection: +40%
Est. 1993 Employees: 6
Component parts and panels for other shops
The Wood 100's No. 5 performer is new to the WOOD 100, but CNC Industries is no newcomer to the growing trend of outsourcing in the wood products industry. "Convincing potential customers that outsourcing is the best way to go," says owner Eric Eilers, "is the factor that has contributed most to CNC Industries' growth." Eilers says his job is to educate his clients on the benefits of outsourcing. "Once they have seen the cost advantages and our quality, we increase our success with repeat orders and referrals." The company recently added a Thermwood CNC machining center as well as a cold press line and an edgebander. The company also attended IWF in search of another CNC machining center.

Milwaukee, WI
'94: $3,340,000 '95: $6,050,000
'95 Sales: +81.1% '96 Projection: +15%
Est. 1965 Employees: 50
Premium & custom architectural woodwork, casework, stone, ornamental metals, glass & upholstery
Founded with a focus on woodwork in retail and residential, the 31-year-old company has diversified its marketing aim to include the booming casino market, hotels, financial institutions and high-end residential projects. "GRI's success in the '90s is mainly thanks to our flexibility and ability to move into economically booming markets," says Maria Rieder, administrative services. Most recently awarded/completed projects include the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Francisco; Crystal Palace Hotel/Casino, Cable Beach, Bahamas; and University Hospitals of Cleveland. GRI recently added a Schelling FI panel saw that is connected to Pattern Systems software for computer-assisted manufacturing at its 100,000-square-foot facility. Further, GRI upgraded its entire office computer system in the office and upgraded its engineering software to AUTO-CAD Version 13.

Lompoc, CA
'94: $790,000 '95: $1,374,000
'95 Sales: +73.9% '96 Projection: +40%
Est. 1975 Employees: 25
Commercial and residential custom cabinets, drawers, countertops & casework
Making its third consecutive appearance in the WOOD 100, Santori Woodworking successfully expanded into the commercial market in 1993, taking on major projects statewide. "We have been in the custom cabinet business for 20 years, starting out as a small family business," says Scott Santori, secretary. According to Santori, investing in new equipment (IDM edgebander, CNC point-to-point, SCMI Alpha panel saw and office computers) has allowed the company to maintain quality workmanship and service in the face of leaping sales growth. "Our style of construction varies between European and face frame. We also install modular cabinets, mostly in industrial projects."

Maspeth, NY
'94: $1,126,000 '95: $1,836,000
'95 Sales: +63.1% '96 Projection: +15%
Est. 1992 Employees: 30
Residential and commercial architectural millwork & custom woodworking
Peter Arena, president, says Tatco was founded after he took over the space from a construction company for which he was the controller. What followed was a lot of cold calling and direct marketing to architects and large corporations. Once Tatco had a few good projects under its belt, Arena says, "Our business began to grow through word of mouth." He attributes Tatco's success to quality control and timeliness. "We have never been late on a job," Arena says. The company recently added an Altendorf sliding table saw to its production line along with shapers, new computers and a delivery truck. Arena is keen on employee training and says the company tries to make sure that new and less experienced people keep learning their trade.

Wilmington, DE
'94: $433,000 '95: $705,000
'95 Sales: +62.82% '96 Projection: +25%
Est. 1992 Employees: 9
Commercial architectural millwork & custom cabinets
Prior to launching his business, Paidin Byrne, president, was associated with a large architectural millwork firm in New York. "During those years I established valuable contacts with designers and general contractors in the area," he says. With that background Byrne developed a marketing program with three key elements: First, focus on the New York area using his prior contacts; second, unionize Byrne Millwork making it eligible for jobs in the New York area and other major cities; and third, build a reputation for quality workmanship. This approach has led to jobs for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the U.S. Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows, and the Botanical Garden Cafe. The company recently purchased the complete contents of a local woodworking shop.

Minnetonka, MN
'94: $9,324,000 '95: $15,180,000
'95 Sales: +62.81% '96 Projection: +25%
Est. 1968 Employees: 85
Store fixtures for national retail stores
Environments, No. 86 last year and No. 77 in 1994, is a firm believer in customer service. "We believe that meeting or exceeding our customers' needs and expectations and following that with `knock-your-socks-off' customer service helps us retain our existing customers," says Roger Wothe, president. "Satisfied customers then provide us with referrals that become the basis for the majority of new work." Recent machinery acquisitions include a Giben CNC panel saw, an Alberti point-to-point boring machine and additional computer stations. The company is in the process of constructing a new finishing facility that will use the latest finishing technology to eliminate VOCs.

Fort Lauderdale, FL
'94: $700,000 '95: $1,101,000
'95 Sales: +57.3% '96 Projection: +20%
Est. 1991 Employees: 14
Office furniture
This busy Florida shop more than doubled its sales between 1993 and 1995. Kimberly Juliano, secretary, says increased productivity has played the biggest role in the company's recent success. In addition the company has moved into a larger facility and added a computerized panel saw, an automatic edgebander and new computers. To hold the line on production costs, Juliano adds that the company shops around for particleboard, MDF and other raw materials used in its products.

El Paso, TX
'94: $629,000 '95: $972,000
'95 Sales: +54.5% '96 Projection: +100%
Est. 1991 Employees: 20-70
High-end solid wood Santa Fe/Mission-style furniture
Hudson Furniture president Mark Hudson points to increased productivity as the factor which has contributed most to the company's overall success. "Sales for our product has never been a problem," Hudson says. "It has always been a case of how to keep up." Recently Hudson added three major pieces of equipment to its production line: a Ritter case clamp, a Greenlee double-end tenoner and a 16-section James L. Taylor clamp carrier. "We have been fortunate enough to be pushed continuously to keep up with sales. We consider it a good position to be in," Hudson adds. Hudson says he projects sales to double this year and also expects 1997 to be a good year.

Pinellas Park, FL
'94: $2,637,000 '95: $3,975,000
'95 Sales: +50.7% '96 Projection: +25%
Est. 1986 Employees: 63
Architectural millwork & custom laminated/wood casework
Mill-Rite credits aggressive marketing as its key to success and has employed an advertising agency to make potential clients aware of Mill-Rite's classic high-end services through a marketing campaign. "This theme is exemplified throughout the company, from our company brochure (featuring four-color photos of completed projects) to our trucks to our plastic hinge caps," says Meg Lashley, marketing director. Mill-Rite's marketing department has further expanded and has added media campaigns and open houses to the marketing mix. A Schelling FM430 CNC optimizing panel saw has helped increase production of 32mm cabinets and saved enough floor space to allow Mill-Rite to streamline its plant layout. Last year Mill-Rite added a "state-of-the-art" spray room and just recently purchased a Homag SE-9400 edgebander. The company projects sales to hit $5 million in 1996.

Cleveland, GA
'94: $2,158,000 '95: '$3,246,000
'95 Sales: +50.4% Projection: +33.5%
Est. 1989 Employees: 30
Volume manufacturer of hardwood mouldings, handrails & trims using red oak, poplar and maple
Exhibiting at the International Woodworking Machinery & Furniture Supply Fair over the years at parent company Atlanta Hardwood Corp.'s booth has helped White County Mouldings drum up business for its products. Even more importantly, a combination of equipment purchases and employee training has helped the company keep up with increased orders from customers while decreasing lead times by up to 50 percent, says Kellin Dobbs, sales representative. Recent equipment purchases include a 31-inch gang ripsaw, a Weinig Hydromat 23 moulder and a fingerjonter. "We have also hired more experienced help and trained them in-house, which has helped us become more efficient," Dobbs says.

Welland, ONT
'94: $581,000 '95: $872,000
'95 Sales: +50.1% '96 Projection: +12.5%
Est. 1963 Employees: 18
Case goods, millwork, executive furniture & home office suites
"Our attitude is that nothing is impossible," says Fred Davies, president of Woodrich Furniture, the highest ranking Canadian firm in this year's WOOD 100. "Having our capabilities and talent tested by our customers has been the reason we've enjoyed good word-of-mouth business." The company was fortunate to have added several key case goods accounts, particularly in the New York City area. "We are finding that there is a need in the marketplace to not only have a diverse range of desks and workstations, but also to be able to design and build the accessories that complete the project," Davies says. Woodrich plans further expansion this year in the U.S. and Europe, hoping to double its sales in 1997.

Suffern, NY
'94: $1,247,000 '95: $1,863,000
'95 Sales: +49.4% '96 Projection: +52.5%
Est. 1988 Employees: 26
Custom casework for hospitals, schools, plus custom wall units, bedroom and other furniture for homes, architects and designers
Piccini's is making its fifth appearance in the WOOD 100, having grown a whopping 850 percent since 1989. Vice president Richard Piccinni attributes the company's success to a bullish marketing program anchored by three local showrooms. "We recently opened another showroom in a major retail shopping area for kitchens and furniture and we have started a marketing program with a firm that specializes in this field to help us further grow our market share," he says. Piccinni adds that all of the salespeople who work at the showrooms are also designers. 1996 has been a strong year and Piccinni predicts 1997 will be his company's "best ever."

Minneapolis, MN
'94: $4,590,000 '95: $6,788,000
'95 Sales: +47.9% '96 Projection: +10%
Est. 1958 Employees: 58
Contract manufacturer of components for furniture, fixtures, millwork, displays & cabinets
The ability to adapt to changes in markets and to incorporate new technology are two factors cited by Bill DeWitt, marketing manager, as the key to Lexington's success. "In 1994 we added a Barberan profile laminator to our core manufacturing capabilities," which was anchored by CNC machining. "We anticipate this area of our business to grow significantly over the next five years. Additionally we have purchased a radio frequency gluer, which has improved our throughput on certain projects and has allowed us to develop some niche capabilities in the architectural door market." Other new equipment includes a four-head Shoda router and a temperature-controlled veneer room. This marks Lexington's fifth appearance in the WOOD 100; the company's sales tripled between 1988 and 1995.

Aberdeen, SD
'94: $420,000 '95: $620,
'95 Sales: +47.6% '96 Projection: +25%
Est. 1975 Employees: 12
Coat & hat racks, magazine racks & literature display racks
Wooden Mallet has made the WOOD 100 for the fourth straight year. Between 1991 and 1995, the company's sales jumped threefold. Wooden Mallet built a complete new facility in 1995, more than tripling its size. It also added a semi-automatic flatline finishing system. Jim Kreber, owner, says Wooden Mallet's focus has been on developing and introducing new products. "By developing new products that tie into our existing products, our marketing program is simplified. Manufacturing process changes are minimal and raw goods inventory does not have to increase proportionately." Kreber adds that the company tries to keep its products as competitively-priced as possible with high quality to discourage design copying.

DWF Airport, TX
'94: $2,300,000 '95: $3,324,000
'95 Sales: +44.5% '96 Projection: +10%
Est. 1992 Employees: 17
Manufacturer & installer of store fixtures
Professional Installation Network was founded to provide fixture installation services. However, Jeff Pray, president, says, "As opportunities arose, we began supplying small amounts of fixtures on our installation jobs. By the end of 1994, the majority of our revenue was from manufacturing store fixtures rather than installation." In evolving into a manufacturer, PIN has added a panel saw, edgebander and CNC machining center to its equipment arsenal. Pray says providing excellent customer service is still paramount to PIN's success. "A friendly, knowledgeable, honest and supportive customer service contact goes a long way to building a solid business relationship with your customers...We will continue value engineering and developing more efficient methods to remain competitive."

Harrodsburg, KY
'94: $269,000 '95: $388,000
'95 Sales: +44.2% '96 Projection: +17.5%
Est. 1991 Employees: 8
Custom casework & millwork
President Rex Bartley calls commitment to customer service and "fanatical attention to quality control" his company's main drawing cards. "We realized a long time ago that it takes more than just producing a good product to be successful," Bartley says. "We strive to be honest with the customer from the first contact through the end of the job. This includes giving a realistic estimate of time required to produce and install a job." Bartley says he sometimes loses a job because he will not commit to time frames that he believes cannot be met. The company moved into a new 6,800-square-foot building in November 1995. "This move has allowed us to more than double our number of employees, thus enabling us to do things (finishing, solid surface and laminate fabrication) in-house that we used to sub out because of lack of room," he says.

Gilbert, AZ
'94: $639,000 '95: $920,000
'95 Sales: +44% '96 Projection: +20%
Est. 1989 Employees: 25
Dovetail drawers & specialty machining
Top Drawer president Brian Emerson says his company has improved its processes steadily over the last three years, reducing errors and increasing production and customer satisfaction through teamwork and employee commitment to a mission and vision statement. Top Drawer's mission: "To build and maintain an ongoing personal relationship with our customers. We produce the best dovetail drawers in the world by empowering our employees to sustain an uncompromising commitment to quality through teamwork, cooperation and continuous improvement." The company makes dovetailed drawers out of any material to customer specifications. Emerson says Top Drawer offers short lead times and specialty machining to customize drawers to fit a customer's needs.

Fergus Falls, MN
'94: $9,160,000 '95: $13,125,000
'95 Sales: +43.3% '96 Projection: +15%
Est. 1992 Employees: 170
Wood & laminated components
Marketing is the key to Northern Contour's success, according to Michael Rone, president. "Our marketing program is quite simple, but effective," Rone says. "We attempt to be fair and honest with our customers. We make every effort to be flexible and responsive to our customers' needs. We produce a top quality product at a very competitive price." Primary products produced are membrane-pressed components and veneered insert panels. A Wemhoner membrane press is the newest piece of equipment at Northern Contours, along with three CMS CNC machining centers and Jenkins profile sanding equipment.

Paterson, NJ
'94: $1,105,000 '95: $1,570,000
'95 Sales: +42.1% '96 Projection: +35%
Est. 1978 Employees: 14
Custom wood & laminate case goods, millwork & cut-to-size CNC parts
A new custom software package for estimating has made a big difference at DeSantis Architectural Woodworking, which is part of the WOOD 100 for the third consecutive year. The software has reduced the company's estimating time from eight hours to two, says president Michael DeSantis. "There was virtually no learning curve," DeSantis says. He looks for further growth by continuing to purchase efficient, automated machinery and systems that can improve quality, produce higher volume and lower labor costs. Among the company's new equipment purchases are an IMA CNC edgebander and a Komo twin-table CNC router with eight heads. The company also added a Scan Hugger wood grinder to reduce scrap removal costs.

Chino, CA
'94: $8,554,000 '95: $12,057,000
'95 Sales: +41.0% '96 Projection: +20%
Est. 1982 Employees: 209
High-end European residential cabinets
Eurodesign's focus is to continuously incorporate new design elements and features to set its products apart from others. "Our clients have had great success with specifying and using our product," says Fariba Shaygan, director of sales & marketing. "As a result, we are enjoying partnering with the most successful builders in Southern California at the best projects in town." The custom-oriented company tries to put the "latest and greatest bells and whistles" into its projects, Shaygan adds. He says he likes to give builders things they are not accustomed to seeing in housing developments such as architectural columns, wine racks, glass doors and built-in recycling centers. A new Buerkle melamine press has enabled Eurodesign to become fully vertically integrated. The company has also expanded into exporting to Japan, China and Korea.

Oklahoma City, OK
'94: $10,806,000 '95: $15,098,000
'95 Sales: +39.7% '96 Projection: +33%
Est. 1988 Employees: 165
Store fixtures, furniture, picture frame mouldings & glass
Worldwood Industries, the No. 9 fast-growth company in 1995 and No. 10 in 1994, has continued its torrid pace by concentrating first on store fixtures. However, Worldwood has also explored a diverse range of other products. Approximately 70 percent of Worldwood's wood manufacturing business is store fixtures for Hobby Lobby and Mardel Christian Bookstores. Worldwood also manufactures T-shirts and sweatshirts under the "Fashion Gear" label. The company increased its plant size to 145,000 square feet this year. In 1994 Worldwood purchased its second Shoda twin-table CNC router. "We take on any new project Hobby Lobby or Mardel presents us with," says Steve Wynn, general manager. "Our goal is to build or produce whatever they want us to."

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