Photo courtesy of Taylor Guitars

The business side of the woodworking business touches on finance, new acquisitions,
management shifts, pursuit of government investments and restructuring.

Top Strategies
A-Ward Design, Winter Haven, FL
A-Ward President Kevin Ward sees lumber and
panel costs as a top concern at the custom cabinet
company, so he trims costs by shopping more
carefully and buying in bulk. Higher margins have
resulted: 2009 sales rose to $919,000, from
$802,000 in 2008. Read more.

Stevens Industries, Teutopolis, IL
Stevens Industries began 2009 with 100% ownership
by an Employee Stock Ownership Program, launched
in 1998 when the ESOP acquired 46% ownership of
the 525-employee firm. Stevens sells cabinetry to
schools, hospitals, medical clinics and laminated
panels to manufacturers of office furniture, store
fixtures, and shelving systems.Read more.

Expo Holdings, North Wilkesboro, NC
When management, sales, design and some operational
staff of Builder’s Choice cabinets and countertops
transitioned into Expo Holdings, a custom cabinetry
firm, it resulted in a doubling of the sales force and
opportunities for 2010, said President Glenn Harris.
The publicly traded Expo Holdings acquired D&D
Displays in 2006, and founded the Easy Transitional
Cabinetry brand in 2009. Read more.


— Founded in 1974 by Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug, Taylor Guitars produces 80,000 high-end guitars in 100 models each year. Top musicians (Dave Matthews, Taylor Swift, Jason Mraz) swear by them. Sold in over 60 countries, Taylor’s brand strategy requires its 800 dealers to provide a “full Taylor experience”, stocking its full line. But a pricey guitar can take up to six months to sell after it arrives at a dealer, and buyers often ask for financing. So Taylor used GE Capital inventory finance for stock purchases, dovetailed with a retail sales financing for end customers. Sales volume through GE Capital has increased 25 percent year-over-year. Taylor Guitars also clinched a marketing award for ads linking advanced manufacturing to quality instruments. Read more.

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