WOOD 100 -- NUMBERS 26 TO 50
PRECISION MILLWORK, INC.
Elizabeth City, NC
'94: $1,288,000 '95: $1,762,000
'95 Sales: +36.8% '96 Projection: +50%
Est. 1989 Employees: 24
Laminate clad & wood casework; media center casework for institutional uses
"Our productivity has increased significantly as a result of changing our focus from the assembly line to a total teamwork effort," says Richard Winslow, president of Precision Millwork Inc., which ranked 19th in the WOOD 100 last year after being No. 23 in 1994. "We have created small groups or teams. These teams have complementary skills, a purpose, specific goals and clear working approaches." In the past two years, the company added many pieces of equipment, including a Schelling CNC panel saw, a Busellato CNC machining center, AutoCAD software and Black Bros. laminating equipment.
PAUL WHITE WOODCARVING
East Sandwich, MA
'94: $131,000 '95: $179,000
'95 Sales: +36.6 '96 Projection: +20%
Est. 1965 Employees: 4
Woodcarving, signage and fine art
During the last year, this small Massachusetts shop has become even more specialized, owner Paul White says. "We've moved away from signage and started doing more art carving," he explains. "Woodcarving is a less competitive field, so it's more profitable." The shop, which recently purchased a Vitech CNC routing table, has carved everything from a hand rail in a Russian embassy to a seat end in a Ft. Worth, TX, theatre.
JEFFRIES WOOD WORKS, INC.
'94: $518,000 '95: $704,000
'95 Sales: +35.9% '96 Projection: +20%
Est. 1987 Employees: 8
Planing, ripping and profiling tongue-and-groove millwork; lumber sales
How can a small shop compete with huge lumber yards? For Jeffries Wood Works, the answer was simple - don't try. "We have tried to bring products that no one else stocks, especially large lumber yards like Home Depot and the like, to market," says Cynthia Jeffries, administrator of the Tennessee company, which has been listed in WOOD 100 every year since 1993. "Niche marketing has allowed us to be a specialty provider and not compete on price. We are also looking at products that other big companies are dropping such as cedar and redwood." The tactic has rewarded the company with a devoted customer base, Jeffries says.
PARADISE KITCHENS, INC.
Pompano Beach, FL
'94: $3,970,000 '95: $5,360,000
'95 Sales: +35.01%'96 Projection: +35%
Est. 1983 Employees: 54
Kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, countertops, architectural woodwork
Paradise Kitchens, making its sixth straight appearance in the WOOD 100, expanded its capabilities through the acquisition of a commercial architectural woodworking company. According to President Arie Vinograd, the purchase gave the company a solid group of existing contracts and customers. "Someone was retiring and offered me his business," Vinograd explains. "We got all the accounts he was selling for 16 or 17 years." Naturally, the expansion has caused growing pains. Vinograd says he hopes to relocate, along with his new Holzma panel saw, to a bigger building during the next year.
'94: $320,000 '95:$432,000
'95 Sales: +35.0% '96 Projection: N/A
Est. 1987 Employees: 5
Custom residential & office furniture for retail & wholesale
Making its second straight appearance in the WOOD 100, California Contemporary has striven to increase productivity through some modest equipment buys. These include a Janssems II edgebander and trimmer and a Mini-Max sliding table saw. "We do a lot of curves for tables and bases and we were using an iron to hand band. The new edgebanding equipment is small but it still allows us to get a better bond and use 3mm edgebands," says Frank Schlosser, owner/president.
TARGET WOODWORKS, INC.
'94: $10,118,000 '95 $13,645,000
'95 Sales: +34.9% '96 Projection: +15%
Est. 1985 Employees: 180
Retail showcases, back islands & vendor shops
Over the last couple of years, Target Woodworks has worked hard to pinpoint its customer base, says Richard Tondo, vice president of sales. "We used to go after everyone for business. Now we have a better definition of our market focus and are more selective of our target accounts, which are primarily high-end stores and stores within a store." Customers include Este Lauder, Polo and Chanel. Target Woodworks has been honored with two outstanding merit awards in the National Association of Store Fixture Manufacturers annual design contest.
BRACEY LUMBER CO., INC.
'94: $1,614,000 '95: $2,170,000
'95 Sales: +34.4% '96 Projection: +35%
Est. 1932 Employees: 17
Architectural millwork, custom products for high-end residential, commercial & restoration jobs
"Our company has been one of the best kept secrets for the past 64 years," says John Bracey Jr., president. "We have recently begun a marketing program to tell our success story to customers and potential customers." Bracey adds, "We take to market our mission statement which amplifies the pride we have in our people, our products, our ability to improve continually and the difference our products make in the lives of our customers." Bracey Lumber is making its third straight appearance in the WOOD 100 in which time sales have doubled.
CUSTOM VENEERED INTERIORS
'94: $984,000 '95: $1,322,000
'95 Sales: +34.3% '96 Projection: +30%
Est. 1986 Employees 16
Commercial cabinet maker & supplier of wood mouldings, trim & interior doors, specializing in laminated casework
Custom Veneered Interiors is proof positive that computerized equipment is not just for the big boys. In the last two years, the company has added a Morbidelli Author 504 CNC point-to-point drilling machine and formed a computer network in the office using Pentium processors at three workstations. Also new is a Ritter case clamp and AccuPin dowel inserter. "The addition of CNC technology has enabled us to redesign our manufacturing methods," says Scott DeGenova, vice president. "Milling parts on one machine creates accurate and consistent parts, while utilizing dowel construction has increased our assembly time by 30 percent."
Classic Woodworking, Inc.
St. Louis, MO
'94: $1,466,000 '95: $1,955,000
'95 Sales: +33.4% '96 Projection: N/A
Est. 1973 Employees: 17
High-end architectural woodwork & commercial & residential furniture
David Hutchinson, president of Classic Woodworking, spends a lot of time educating designers and architects about the high quality of work his company provides. When designers need an inexpensive plastic laminate job done, they call someone else. "Our clients now call us on only the top 5 percent of jobs and expect to pay for a premium product," Hutchinson says. This seriousness about quality carries through every aspect of the company. When asked what new equipment has made the company more competitive, Hutchinson replies, "We purchased HVLP spray equipment - to be better, not more competitive."
'94: $1,797,000 '95: $2,394,000
'95 Sales: +33.2% '96 Projection: 45%
Est. 1988 Employees: 33
Retail store fixtures, hotels, health clubs, banks & offices
Quality craftsmanship speaks for itself, says Jeff Ball, president of Wisconsin Built, which ranked 12th in last year's report. "We get a lot of business from people who see our product in other stores and call us," he says. In the last two years the company has invested in an SCMI 232-E panel saw, an SCMI Selectra C edgebander and a Morbidelli V550 point-to-point boring machine. "The unemployment rate here is very low so it is hard to find people," Ball says. "We have been looking at finding machinery to offset this problem." As sales doubled between 1993 and 1995, Wisconsin Built added 10,000 square feet, bringing the plant to 28,000 square feet.
Maddron Woodworks, Inc.
'94: $652,000 '95: $867,000
'95 Sales: +33.0% '96 Projection: N/A
Est. 1987 Employees: 13
Custom architectural woodwork & casework for commercial use
Quality control is the central issue at Maddron Woodworks, president Randy Hensley says. "Our staff is very quality control-minded. We rarely have products come back because they are wrong or of inferior quality." The company, founded in 1987, has been listed in the WOOD 100 three times since 1990. Recent purchases include a line boring machine and a central air line system.
Harbinger Industries, Inc.
'94: $2,550,000 '95: $3,386,000
'95 Sales: +32.8% '96 Projection: +12
Est. 1982 Employees: 40
Architectural woodwork, corporate furniture, displays & contract component manufacturing
When Heartwood Architectural Woodwork Co. expanded into furniture and displays, the company underwent a marketing makeover that included a name change. Heartwood became Harbinger Industries. "Until recently, the company had not used a formal marketing program," Michael Quirk, president, says. "After we designed, implemented and began using our plan, we began seeing almost immediate results." The company's services and production capabilities are captured in its full-color brochure.
Office Chairs, Inc.
Santa Fe Springs, CA
'94: $3,846,000 '95: $5,104,000
'95 Sales: +32.7% '96 Projection: +20%
Est. 1974 Employees: 60
Mid-to-upper price range office chairs
The drawbacks of the information age are discomfort and injury caused by excessive computer use. But Office Chairs Inc. has a solution: its new line of ergonomic chairs that require no tools for assembly and come in more than 100 covers. Anything from the popular line of chairs can be shipped in three to five days, says owner Donald J. Simek. The fast-growing company also recently added 7,000 square feet to its factory. This is Office Chairs' sixth WOOD 100 listing, during which time sales have grown fourfold.
Baby's Dream Furniture
Buena Vista, GA
'94: $5,798,000 '95: $7,600,000
'95 Sales: +31.1% '96 Projection: +40%
Est. 1992 Employees: 140
This 4-year-old company, which ranked sixth in last year's wood 100, produces a full line of competitively priced children's furniture from cribs and changing tables to dressers and hutches. The company's staple products are cribs that convert into beds, but it has introduced successful limited product lines every year, President and CEO Fereydon Felfeli says. "Every care is taken to provide dealers with incentives to present and sell this furniture," Felfeli says. Recent purchases include a Ballestrini round-end tenoner and a Maka mortiser.
Strata Design, Inc.
Traverse City, MI
'94: $1,497,000 '95: $1,944,000
'95 Sales: +29.9% '96 Projection: +15%
Est. 1988 Employees: 26
Plastic laminate casework, countertop & solid surface fabrications; store fixtures & components
With strong marketing, strict quality control and new equipment, Strata Design poses a triple threat to competitors. "We spent the last two years working very hard on investing in equipment and working on quality control," says President Charles T. Cady, whose new purchases included a Giben panel saw and a Busellato machining center. "Our goal (when buying the equipment) was to provide better quality and faster turnaround. When we accomplished that, the next step was to communicate that to potential customers." Strata Design is making its third appearance in the WOOD 100.
Riss Bros., Inc.
Black Hawk, SD
'94: $4,252,900 '95: $5,521,000
'95 Sales: +29.8% '96 Projection: 25%
Est. 1947 Employees: 85
Hospitality furniture, supplies for gaming industry & custom case goods
In 1989 Riss Bros took a gamble with its entry into the gaming industry. The risk paid off. The company, which once focused on case goods, found a new priority - supplying furniture for casinos and riverboats. "The gaming industry has grown into areas other than Las Vegas and Atlantic City," explains Joe Riss, president. "We've been fortunate in timing it right. And that industry continues to grow." The company's newest venture, hospitality furniture, also has taken off. Though Riss entered this market only a year and a half ago, hospitality furniture (the kind found in hotels and motels) is now the company's second largest money maker. Making its fourth appearance in the WOOD 100, Riss Bros. plans to expand and purchase new machinery in 1997.
IGS Store Fixtures
East Boston, MA
'94: $3,975,000 '95: $5,125,000
'95 Sales: +28.9% '96 Projection: +20%
Custom wood and laminate store fixtures
If you want to know how one company's twist in marketing strategy upped business 20 percent, take a cue from IGS Store Fixtures Inc. In addition to marketing its business to potential customers, IGS also started "marketing" its talents to designers, architects and contractors. "Probably 40 percent of our business now comes from relationships with contractors, architects or designers," Dominic I. Butera Jr., company president, says. "In fact, the biggest contract we won this year, a high-end department store, was through a contractor." The company recently purchased a Holzma CNC panel saw and a Holz-Her edgebander.
Eden Prairie, MN
'94: $2,161,000 '95 $2,774,000
'95 Sales: +28.4% '96 Projection: +25%
Store fixtures & wood component parts
A little technology goes a long way, says Tim Burgett, vice president of Burgetts Inc. A few years ago, when a customer wanted part of a countertop replaced or a guard rail added, someone from Burgetts would remeasure and redesign a new part. Now every part is tracked on a computer by serial number. "This way we know what's there, how the piece is designed and where the screws are," explains Burgett. "If someone needs something replaced, we can just pull the product up on the computer and manufacture it. We send it UPS along with an Allen wrench. Our customers love it because it saves them time and money."
Architectural Forest Enterprises
San Francisco, CA
'94: $1,611,000 '95: $2,065,000
'95 Sales: +28.2% '96 Projection: +20%
Est. 1989 Employees: 23
Custom commercial furniture &
finishing; custom architectural panels; veneer & lumber sales
"Under one roof, we specialize in high-quality architectural veneers, matching lumber, veneered panels and doors, custom furniture and finishing," says Lewis Buchner, the principal of this versatile - and busy - California shop. The environment is a key concern at Architectural Forest Enterprises. One of the shop's specialties is the EcoPanel, a wood veneer panel made from sustainable raw materials. In fact, the company is producing all the veneer panels for the new San Francisco Public Library. Recent equipment buys include a Buetfering widebelt sander and Scheer panel saw.
El Cajon, CA
'94: $22,003,461 '95: $28,155,083
'95 Sales: +28.0% '96 Projection: 35-40%
Est. 1981 Employees: 500+
Oak office & home theatre furniture
What's the best way to ensure quality manufacturing? A. Constantly shop for machines that give better tolerance. B. Install quality control stations all along the production lines. C. Track every product that leaves the warehouse to see which products have recurring problems. If you're Gil Martin, president of Martin Furniture, the answer is D., All of the above. "Our quality control assures that our customers get a product that looks presentable and is relatively trouble-free. It stays sold and does not come back," Martin explains. Next, Martin hopes to turn his focus to marketing, identifying new sales regions and finding a wider range of customers.
RITTER CABINET MFG., INC.
'94: $3,362,000 '95: $4,286,000
'95 Sales: +27.5% '96 Projection: +5%
Commercial & institutional casework, fixtures & receptions for medical centers, schools, etc.
Ritter Cabinet is making its sixth showing in the WOOD 100; company sales have grown more than 600 percent since 1988. Scott and Susan Ritter, president/CEO and VP/CFO respectively, attribute much of their success to tooling up with new equipment purchases. "We have always worked to provide both a quality product and service to our customers," says Susan Ritter. "But to stay competitive, we are equipment oriented in production." Recent purchases include a Weeke CNC boring machine, and a Selco rear-feed beam saw, On order at press time was a Gannomat fully automatic drilling and dowel inserting machine for simultaneous drilling, gluing and dowel inserting. "This should save approximately t2 hours of shop labor per day," says Scott Ritter.
Zongkers Custom Woods, Inc.
'94: $497,000 '95: $628,000
'95 Sales: +26.4% '96 Projection: 25%
Est. 1990 Employees: 12
Custom designed, hand-crafted office & residential furniture
Employees' lack of experience is seen as a negat
ve at many companies - but not at Zongkers Custom Wood, which has appeared in the WOOD 100 twice before. "We prefer to train from the ground up, when possible," Dan Zongker, vice president, explains. "We pay a lot of attention to detail. Most of our methods are from the 'old ways' and are not taught in any school or in any production shop," he adds. Another factor that has spurred growth was the purchase of two AutoCAD design stations in 1995. "Our design and office production time has been cut by more than 60 percent with adding these computers," Zongker says.
CUSTOM WOOD FURNITURE
'94: $368,000 '95: $464,000
'95 Sales: +26.1% '96 Projection: +40%
Est. 1989 Employees: 8
Custom/production shop making institutional cabinets
Owner John Kweselait describes his company as a "small but growing custom/production shop that manufactures cabinets for a diverse group of end users such as the medical field and educational facilities." As the company has grown, it has invested in new equipment to boost productivity. Included is a new SCMI Hydro sliding table saw that Kweselait says has "increased our quality of cut and the speed with which we can produce spare parts." The company also bought a used Holz-Her 1405 edgebander. "Its super finish has decreased our handling time on banded parts especially with prelaminated doors."
'94: $3,085,000 '95: $3,772,000
'95 Sales: +22.3% '96 Projection: 20%
Frameless residential cabinets for kitchens & vanities
Charles B. Tucker Jr., president of Centennial Kitchens, attributes better business to a time-saving new system. The company uses a variety of door and drawer fronts on one box with a white melamine interior. "We produce parts for the boxes, cut-to-size and construction-bored to inventory," Tucker explains. "We then pull, assemble and ship on an individual order basis...anything else is special ordered and is available in 10 working days." New machines, such as a Holz-Her 1270 vertical panel saw, a Holz-Her Speedy 207 point-to-point boring machine and a Pistorius 301 toe notching machine help speed the process along.
WOOD MATIC ENTERPRISES, INC.
'94: $2,445,000 '95: $2,988,000
'95 Sales: +22.21% '96 Projection: +15%
Est. 1989 Employees: 40
Commercial & residential cabinetry, custom furniture, store fixtures & prototype furniture
Wood Matic first cracked the WOOD 100 as No. 6 in 1992 and has been a fixture ever since. "Our craftsmen are the key to our success," says Paul Van Drunen, owner/president. "We work hard at keeping our employees challenged and motivated. We encourage them to be the best they can be. We make every effort to make our working environment conducive to productivity including providing air conditioning, good lightning and efficient dust collection." Other secrets to maintaining a stable workforce Van Drunen cites include paying "a fair wage and offering profit sharing. These seem to be key factors to employee happiness."
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