W&WP September 2000

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11th Annual Report

This year's WOOD 100 is a $1.6 billion juggernaut. More precisely, the 100 companies making up this year's list combined to generate $1,612,328,000 in sales in 1999 for an aggregate growth of 18.7% over 1998.

While the growth of this year's class is the third lowest in the feature's 11-year history, it is the largest WOOD 100 grouping ever in terms of total sales volume. What's more, 69 of the 100 companies profiled in the 2000 Report bested the 18.7% average. The 31 companies falling below the average did not exactly fare poorly, especially considering that the 8.5% sales growth posted by Eastland Industries of Minto, NB, is the highest among any company ever ranked No. 100.

Even more impressive than the past glories are the bullish expectations of the WOOD 100 spokespeople for this year and next. Seventy-seven of them expect their companies to experience at least double-digit growth in 2000, and one-third of those companies anticipate sales growth of at least 25%. Looking to 2001, 95 of them predict at least a good year for their business, including 37 who boldly go out on the limb to predict that next year will be their company's best year ever.

The Long and Short of It
Pacing the field - in terms of girth - of this year's WOOD 100 Report of fast-growing wood products firms is MasterBrand Cabinets Inc. (No. 48) of Jasper, IN, whose holdings include Aristokraft, Schrock and Decora. With sales of $625 million last year, MasterBrand is the second largest company to ever grace the WOOD 100, the only company bigger being arch nemesis Masco Corp., which participated in the 1997 report.

Other noteworthy big-volume companies included in this year's portfolio are Republic Industries (No. 9), of Marshall, TX, a growth-through-acquisitions cabinet company profiled in the March 2000 issue of Wood & Wood Products, $111 million; DMI Furniture (No. 52) of Louisville, KY, $80 million; Eagle Industries (No. 29) of Bowling Green, KY, $59 million; Appalachian Wood Products (No. 47) of Clearfield, PA, $48 million; and Canyon Creek Cabinet Co. (No. 70) of Monroe, WA, $40 million.

The immense sales of these Big 6 companies, which combined for nearly 60% of the total sales rang up by the WOOD 100 class of 2000, stand in stark contrast to most of the other 94 companies included in this year's report. For example, D&L Custom Interiors (No. 1), an eight-man custom woodworking operation based in Logansville, GA, only did $324,000 in sales last year. But you won't hear Doug Hartman, D&L's president complain, considering that $324,000 is nearly three times the amount of business his company billed in 1998.

Five other small companies, each with 1999 sales under $3 million, can also claim banner years by virtue of more than doubling their 1998 sales. Included are Steflo Builders (No. 2) of Greensburg, PA; Solid Tops LLC (No. 3) of Easton, MD; Athenaeum International (No. 4) of Glasgow, KY; Madsen Fixture & Millwork Co. (No. 5) of Forest Lake, MN; and New Concepts & Design (No. 6) of Chicago, IL.

How They Got There
Asked to define the single most important factor to their current success, 29% cited increased productivity typically tied to the purchase of more efficient woodworking equipment. Twenty percent of the WOOD 100 spokesmen pointed to the skills of their employees followed by 15% for improved marketing and 14% for new product introductions.

Sleepless Nights
While many credit their firms' success to the skill and dedication of their employees, 34% cite recruiting and retaining employees as their biggest concern with another 11% bemoaning the skills of their workforce.

The most pressing concern among WOOD 100 spokespeople, though, is the fear of the nation's economy slowing down ... or worse. Thirty-nine percent named the economy as their top concern.

 

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