'Luck Is the Friend of a Busy Man’

By Bernadette Freund

For Volkhard Neumann and his wife Angelika, it has been a busy eight-year journey from Germany to success, and to reaching the number one spot in the WOOD 100.

While at IWF, the Neumanns purchased a Biesse Rover 20 CNC machine to replace their older Biesse Rover 13S.

“We came to this country eight years ago and had to wait three years for our Green Card before we could go into business,� says Neumann, president of Form & Function Custom Closets. “We founded the company five years ago on a shoestring budget.�

Shoestring budget, in this case, equals $5,000. “Our first year we did not even sell anything,� says Neumann. “We spent it finding the perfect suppliers, looked at the competition, designed prototypes and figured out the exact amount of time a closet would take to produce.�

To distinguish itself from its competition, Form & Function Custom Closets manufactures custom closets with mechanical fasteners and uses 3mm-thick edgebanding, metal hardware, concealed leg levelers and lock-in shelves.

In the beginning, Form & Function did not even have its own machines to produce its mid-range to high-end custom closets, Murphy beds, home offices and pantries. Parts were outsourced and Neumann and his wife spent their time convincing customers that their products and customer service were top notch.

Today, the company owns several machines, such as a Cehisa Rapid EP 11 edgebander and a Mayer PS9Z beam saw with label printer and Ardis Eurosoft optimizer software. In fact, Neumann just purchased a Biesse Rover 20 CNC machining center at IWF 2002 to replace its Biesse Rover 13S. “This larger CNC center will end up making us more productive and save us time,� says Neumann. “Time is everything to us right now.�

Time has also been an essential element to Form & Function’s success. Neumann sits down with each customer for at least 1-1/2 to 2 hours to design the product. Automation has given them extra time in the last year to fulfill customer time requirements as well as quick changeovers. Time is also something Neumann needs in order to grow his small business.

“For the future I plan to concentrate on growing the business and move from working in the business to working on the business,� says Neumann. “It would be wonderful if I could find the right guy to take over the manufacturing part of the business or a partner who wants to help me grow the business.�

For now, Neumann says he and his wife plan to throw a party in October to celebrate their success, hard work and title as the number one WOOD 100 company. “Now we have proven to the people that only gave our business six months that if you work hard, even though you start with nothing, you can succeed,� says Neumann. “Luck is the friend of a busy man.�

WOOD 100 Companies

‘00: $118,000
‘01: $269,000
Sales ‘01: +127.97% Projected ‘02: +15%
Est. 1997 Employees: 2

Custom closets, pantries, home offices and murphy beds
For Volkhard Neumann, president of Form & Function, his first appearance in the WOOD 100 is a momentous one. He credits his business’ success to the personalized time he and his wife spend with clients as well as technology. “The latest technology made our success really happen for us,� he says. In the last two years, the company purchased a Cehisa Rapid EP 11 edgebander with 3mm PVC capacity and corner rounding; a Biesse Rover 13S machining center; a Mayer PS9Z beam saw with label printer; and Ardis Eurosoft optimizer software. “We don’t feel we are in the business of selling closets and other parts, but providing solutions to our customers’ problems, utilizing our system parts as tools.�

Charles Alan Inc.
Ft. Worth, TX

‘00: $1,433,000
‘01: $2,870,000
Sales ‘01: +100.28% Projected ‘02: +50%
Est. 1998 Employees: 16
Contract furniture for corporate, healthcare, hospitality, university and college clients

Another newcomer to the WOOD 100, Charles Alan Inc. has 25,000 square feet of manufacturing space and recently purchased 30 new pieces of equipment. President Margaret Sevadjian says the company’s “production department is responsible for our award-winning designs. We frequently host ASID, architects, designers, dealers, end users and design students. We also focus attention on recycling supplies and products and on using new materials for manufacturing frames, finish materials, webbing, fiber and foam.� Over the last two years Charles Alan Inc. has produced items for The University of Arkansas Stadium, The American Airlines Sports Center and the University of Texas.

Augusta Millwork Inc.
Augusta, GA

‘00: $1,478,000
‘01: $2,523,000
Sales ‘01: +70.70% Projected ‘02: 0%
Est. 1991 Employees: 12
Architectural woodwork

After returning last year to the WOOD 100 for the first time since 1995, Augusta Millwork has moved up from No. 9 to No. 3. The company recently installed a new finishing booth for improved finishing capabilities. Kurt Eyrich, president, gives the company’s customer service an A+. “Our customer service encompasses total project coordination and service to our customers. A result of this is that customers keep coming back to us with new projects.� To keep adding onto profit margins, Eyrich says, Augusta plans to implement responsible accounting and firm budgetary targets for all of its employees.

Redbud Ridge Custom Shop Inc.
Bartonville, IL

‘00: $3,690,000
‘01: $6,091,000
Sales ‘01: +65.07% Projected ‘02: +15%
Est. 1990 Employees: 56
Commercial casework and millwork

Patrick D. Ruder, president, credits Redbud Ridge Custom Shop’s first appearance in the WOOD 100 to its “no hassle� approach with customers. “We really try to deliver a job on time. Having a job done on time is the answer to everything.� He also says that since September 11 the company has kept a closer eye on health benefit costs, price cutting and wood quality and availability. “We just have to be on the ‘cutting edge’ of our industry.�

Harbor Millworks Inc.
Rockland, ME

‘00: $480,000
‘01: $780,000
Sales ‘01: +62.50% Projected ‘02: 0%
Est. 1994 Employees: 9
Custom millwork including wall units, beadboard, boat molds and commercial cabinetry

Harbor Millworks steps out for the first time in the WOOD 100 at No. 5. Jim Fischer, owner and president, says success has come in these tough times from consistent and reliable customer service. “The jobs we promise are delivered on time and in top condition. Our work can be depended upon and is consistently reliable.� The company has upgraded to CNC equipment and plans to invest in more computer-controlled equipment in the future to continue lowering production costs.

Vintage Granite & Millworks Corp.
Kerrville, TX

‘00: $1,831,000
‘01: $2,928,000
Sales ‘01: +59.91% Projected ‘02: +50%
Est. 1997 Employees: 73
Residential and commercial millwork and granite countertops

A first-time WOOD 100 entrant, Vintage Granite & Millworks, credits its success to several factors. President Tommy Carpenter says one factor that has pushed the company upward has been the addition of a Holz-Her edgebander and a Casadei beam saw. The company has also focused on its management infrastructure and company-wide training. “We have been dedicated to developing a management infrastructure to support our rapid growth. This involves management training for managers, improved hiring standards and skills training for shop hands and installers,� Carpenter says.

Quality Woodworking
Waldport, OR

‘00: $244,000
‘01: $386,000
Sales ‘01: +58.19%
Projected ‘02: +25%
Est. 1986 Employees: 4
Custom cabinetry, fixtures and millwork

Quality Woodworking has seen a busy two years. It moved into a new facility and added a Robland TP120 shaper, SAC CS4 sliding table saw, Powermatic 8-inch joiner, Kreg tool, Blum Minipress and a Williams & Hussey moulder. “Without the increased productivity, we would not have been able to keep up with extra demand,� says Chris Graamans, president. “The increase was due to elimination of space constraints with the new building and to the new equipment. We were so busy; training actually provided us with rest.�

CNC Industries Inc.
Houston, TX

‘00: $1,276,000
‘01: $1,979,000
Sales ‘01: +55.09% Projected ‘02: +20%
Est. 1992 Employees: 20
Kiosk manufacturing, airline casework, cabinets and cabinet components

CNC Industries returns to the WOOD 100 for its sixth appearance following a one-year absence. Eric E. Eilers, president, says that marketing tools have helped the company reach higher levels of success. “These tools have allowed us to produce a virtual tour of our company to reach various markets. This has allowed us the capability of reaching new clients, national and international, by giving them a tour as if they were actually at our facility. This gives prospective clients a comfortable feeling of knowing who they are working with.�

Solidtops LLC
Easton, MD

‘00: $1,220,000
‘01: $1,877,000
Sales ‘01: +53.85% Projected ‘02: +50%
Est. 1997 Employees: 13
Custom solid surface and stone countertops

This is SolidTops’ third consecutive WOOD 100 appearance; the company has experienced 115% growth since the 2000 WOOD 100. President Evan Kruger says SolidTops has made four significant investments: the Park Pro Edge III which polishes engineered stone, a Matrix beam saw for cutting stone, cellular workstations and an Intermac CNC router. He says many factors must be combined in order to reach success. “You need dedicated and skilled employees, fast turn around times, new products, high-quality work, etc. Without all of these you cannot continue reaching top quality customer service.�

National Woodwork Mfg.
Bethlehem, PA

‘00: $1,890,000
‘01: $2,825,000
Sales ‘01: +49.47% Projected ‘02: 0%
Est. 1985 Employees: 15
Custom cabinetry, architectural millwork and commercial cabinets

Appearing every year since 1993, National Woodwork Mfg. is making its 10th consecutive appearance in the WOOD 100. Christine Merrigan, president, credits perfection, attention to detail and customer service for the company’s success. “Not having a sales or marketing staff, we rely on repeat business and word-of-mouth advertising for continued growth and success. A satisfied customer is key to our overall strategy.� The company recently purchased a Uhling HP 3000 case clamp and a Whirlwind upcut saw with a Tigerstop.

Boden Store Fixtures
Portland, OR

‘00: $16,476,000
‘01: $24,420,000
Sales ‘01: +48.22% Projected ‘02: N/A
Est. 1946 Employees: 200
Custom wood and metal store fixtures and displays

Boden Store Fixtures battled its way for its first WOOD 100 appearance. The company’s sales went down from 1999 to 2000, but skyrocketed back up between 2000 and 2001 despite the economic downturn. Dan Dunn, vice president of sales and marketing, says, “We have continued to focus on the strength of our service and quality while trying to become as lean as possible during this economic downturn.� Dunn says that the company has been able to hold onto its existing clients and generate new ones because of the company’s reputation and consistent service.

’00: $840,000
’01: $1,215,000
Sales ’01: +44.64% Projected ’02: 0%
Est. 1913 Employees: 12
Architectural millwork, doors, windows and wood components

McClung’s Millwork, a new WOOD 100 participant, identifies machinery and increased productivity as the chief reason for its success. The company recently added a gang ripsaw, 42-inch band saw, tilting spindle shaper, arch radius moulder, Powermatic 66 table saw, tenoner, line boring machine and edgebander. “A combination of the gang ripsaw and the moulder has decreased turn-around time significantly,� says Andrew Stratton, president. “In today’s market, short lead times are not requested, they are expected.�

’00: $1,876,000
’01: $2,702,000
Sales ’01: +44.03% Projected ’02: +25%
Est. 1990 Employees: 35
Hardwood interior and exterior doors

Appearing for the second consecutive year, Oakwood Classic & Custom Woodworks grew from sales of $1,532,000 in 1999 to $2,702,000 in 2001, an increase of more than 75%. Christopher Collins, treasurer, says the company’s success has been due to significant investments in equipment. “By increasing our capacity and productivity we have been able to quote and obtain larger jobs and provide shorter lead times to our customers.� The company has added a new five-head moulder, a door press, glue wheel, shapers, gang ripsaw, jointer, planer and Timesavers sander.

Patton Cabinet Doors
Austin, T

’00: $1,252,000
’01: $1,799,000
Sales ’01: +43.69% Projected ’02: +60%
Est. 1994 Employees: 35
Cabinet doors

In its third appearance in the WOOD 100, Patton Cabinet Doors continues its steady-paced growth, appearing at No. 14 this year, No. 25 in 2001 and No. 17 in 2000. "Our success comes from customer service, our employees, increased productivity, our marketing program; it comes from everything really," says David Patton, president. "Our business continues to be successful because of our commitment to focus on every factor of our business." The company recently installed a Rand-Bright four-head widebelt sander.

NBSF Cabinets & Millwork Inc.
New Brunswick, NJ

’00: $2,049,000
’01: $2,902,000
Sales ’01: +41.63% Projected ’02: +7%
Est. 1925 Employees: 20

Institutional, commercial and residential architectural woodwork and case goods
Walter Szymanski, president, says NBSF Cabinets & Millworks’ first appearance in the WOOD 100 is a result of increased productivity. "We have increased productivity not only in the shop, but throughout every department." The company’s new equipment includes a Holzma beam saw and Pattern Systems software. "With profit margins down and competition tougher than ever, we put a challenge to our employees to increase the number of bids, contractors and decrease the fabrication time without sacrificing the quality and reputation our company was built on,� Szymanski says.

Timberlane Woodcrafters
North Wales, PA

’00: $3,264,000
’01: $4,616,000
Sales ’01: +41.42% Projected ’02: +60%
Est. 1996 Employees: 50
Exterior wood shutters, reproduction hardware and historically accurate shutter reproductions

For its debut in the WOOD 100 at No. 16, Timberlane Woodcrafters attributes its success to employee skills and dedication. Darren Meehan says the company is an “open books� company. “This means every employee sees the financial statements during the company’s mandatory monthly staff meetings. The company also invests considerably in employee development, encouraging self- improvement and education. This in turn leads to higher sales and better quality.� The company recently added a Weinig moulder. Its jobs include work on national landmarks, universities and in feature films.

Moralmar Kitchen Cabinets
Hialeah, FL

’00: $9,990,000
’01: $14,116,000
Sales ’01: +41.30% Projected ’02: 0%
Est. 1971 Employees: 105
Manufacturer of kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, closet systems and laminate and solid surface countertops

Moving up from No. 95 in 2001 to No. 17, Moralmar Kitchen Cabinets has added 8,000 square feet and redesigned its production floor for more efficiency and better flow, including adding an automatic belt conveyor to handle parts. “Our focus over the last two years has actually been on new products, styles and kitchen designs,� says Fernando Aquino, controller. “The new lines have both attracted new customers as well as increased sales with our base accounts, both in volume as well as in price points.�

Classic Woodworking Inc.
St. Louis, MO

’00: $1,363,000
’01: $1,888,000
Sales ’01: +38.59% Projected ’02: 0%
Est. 1973 Employees: 18
Commercial and residential architectural millwork

After a short absence of a year, Classic Woodwork returns to the WOOD 100 after seeing sales decline from 1999 to 2000. “The only thing we can really credit our success to is the good people we have,� says Laurie Fromm, representative. “Paying employees well returns in improved performance and the quality of the end product for customers.� The company has replaced an edgebander and truck and is looking at a new point-to-point machine.

’00: $800,000,000
’01: $1,100,000,000
Sales ’01: +37.50% Projected ’02: N/A
Est. 1954 Employees: 10,000+
Kitchen, bath and home cabinetry under several brand names

In its second appearance in the WOOD 100, MasterBrand Cabinets moves up from No. 48 in 2000 to No. 19. Neil Lynch, vice president of marketing and strategic planning, says the company’s success lies in its customer service. “We continue to focus on our customer’s need in the marketplace through multi-branding efforts, consolidated programs and a ‘one-touch’ customer service approach. This makes it easier to do business and more reliable, making our customers more profitable.�

1-800 Wallbed
Atlanta, GA

‘00: $506,000
‘01: $694,000
Sales ‘01: +37.15% Projected ‘02: +20%
Est. 1989 Employees: 10
Wallbed cabinets, wall units, library bed cabinets and shelving

Frank F. Zarcone, president, says productivity and ingenuous products have led 1-800 Wallbed to the WOOD 100. “We look at a vast variety of resources such as industry magazines to teach us about smarter purchasing. More sales for us create quantity prices. We also try to be generous to our employees which increases productivity.� The company creates its products using MDF, melamine, thermofoil, wood veneers, solid wood raised panels and prefinished wood veneers.

Mountain Moulding Ltd.
Mountain, ON, Canada

’00: $1,234,000 (Can.)
’01: $1,692,000 (Can.)
Sales ’01: +37.12% Projected ’02: +20%
Est. 1987 Employees: 9
Residential and commercial custom wood mouldings

For Mountain Moulding’s second appearance in the WOOD 100 it has added 10,000 square feet of storage space. Bob Hobson, president, gives all the credit to his employees. “We really have a stable staff that is dedicated to a zero defect program and is constantly open to learning.� For the future, he says the company will continue to strive to put out a superior product and offer superior service to its clients.

Moss Creek Millworks Inc.
Sacramento, CA

‘00: $557,000
‘01: $754,000
Sales ‘01: +35.37% Projected ‘02: +10%
Est. 1998 Employees: 8
High-end cabinetry, panel processing and mouldings

Darrin W. Pradie, president, says Moss Creek Millworks’ first appearance in the WOOD 100 is due to the company’s excellent customer service and employees. “We give everything to make sure we have excellent customer service. Finding the right people and recruiting is difficult, but we have a group of people here that is excited about work and willing to be trained.� The company has recently added an SCMI 90D panel saw, an IDM 6620 edgebander, an SCMI five-head moulder, an SCMI M3 gang ripsaw and a Lobo two-sided planer.

‘00: $18,137,000
‘01: $24,531,000
Sales ‘01: +35.25% Projected ‘02: +10%
Est. 1972 Employees: 320
Custom architectural millwork

Pioneer Contract Services credits part of its success and its appearance in the WOOD 100 to the addition of key equipment. “We have purchased a second CNC router, a Cosmec, that allows us to cut templates of wood and plastic automatically,� says Claudette Schindler, executive assistant. “We also have a Pattern Systems software program for the router. Both of these have increased production which saves our customers money and time.� The company also says its excellent customer service has earned it a solid reputation.

Ron Anderson & Co. Inc.
Ft. Myers, FL

‘00: $612,000
‘01: $823,000
Sales ‘01: +34.53% Projected ‘02: +20%
Est. 1994 Employees: 15
Custom entertainment centers and home offices

“We are fortunate to have a number of long-term dedicated employees,� says Ron Anderson, owner and president. Employees are the key to Ron Anderson & Co.’s increase in sales and its appearance in this report. “My employees enjoy and take pride in their work as each job is new and different.� The company also has some new machinery that has helped along the way. It has added a Paoloni P260 panel saw, Cabinet Vision software and two new computers.

Omni Pacific
El Cajon, CA

‘00: $3,504,000
‘01: $4,685,000
Sales ‘01: +33.70% Projected ‘02: 0%
Est. 1981 Employees: 32
Contract office and institutional furniture and free-standing systems

Returning to the WOOD 100 for a second time since its first appearance in 1999, Thomas Burke, president of Omni Pacific, says the development of a refocused marketing program has lead to improvement in sales. “Our focused energies on a select group of dealers allowed us to fully utilize Omni’s pull-through manufacturing capabilities and contained sales and marketing costs during a critical period,� Burke says. Machinery has also been added including a Homag 9800/S2 CNC edgebander and a Morbidelli 800L point-to-point machining center.

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