|Watch video from the Best of the WOOD 100 presentation at AWFS Vegas 2007.|
|The integration of technology has enabled Commercial Cabinet Solutions to take on large clients, such as the EyeMasters retail chain.|
A Growing Business
The journey from the 400-square-foot garage that Meadows and his wife, Nanette Maglicco, soundproofed and air-conditioned, to the high-tech facility with 10 employees has been an eventful one. For the manufacturer of commercial laminated cabinetry and store fixtures for retail outlets, the road to success has involved persistence, a belief in technology, a bit of luck and tons of hard work — a true American success story.
“I’ve been in construction for 21 years,” says Meadows. “I started out as a framer, building houses. I had a partner who did trim work and countertops, so we did that on the side.”
In the early ’90s, Maglicco also began working with Meadows trimming houses. “All these new houses had that crazy niche next to the fireplace where you can’t get a piece of furniture to fit into. These homeowners were asking us to build custom pieces for them. It wasn’t a lot of money, but it filled the free time,” he says.
In 2000, the company received its first commercial cabinet commission, but it was not until 2004 that Meadows and Maglicco reached the turning point. The volume of cabinet business led them to move out of their garage shop, where they were getting “banged and bruised head to toe” from having to move all the material and equipment around at least twice daily just to get jobs done.
But along with the new overhead for their facility, an employee on payroll and investment in automation, they suddenly found themselves facing an uncertain future. The customer which had provided the majority of work in 2003 suddenly “took a nosedive,” leaving Meadows and Maglicco unprepared. “We had our eggs all in one basket,” he says.
Salvation came from an unexpected source — a woodworking trade show. “In the summer of 2004, we went to the International Woodworking Fair [in Atlanta],” Meadows says. “Nanette said, ‘We have $10 in our business bank account, so let’s go to Atlanta and just have some fun.’”
|Commercial Cabinet Solutions specializes in commercial fixtures such as the ones shown below for a college coffee house.|
Instead of just “fun,” the trip to IWF proved fruitful. “We met people,” Meadows says. “Not so much customers, but suppliers who were suppliers of local people. We were at the right place at the right time and talked to the right people. Our phone started ringing before we even got back to Dallas. We got on a roll in late ’04 and 2005 was nonstop. We’ve doubled every year since.”
Meadows credits the company’s investment in new technology for much of its sales growth. “We’re always standing on our soapbox talking about automation,” Meadows says. ”If you don’t use automation, you just have to keep throwing bodies at it.”
The majority of each year’s profit is reinvested back into the company through new equipment purchases. “We always try to stay about a year ahead of where we need to be. We start researching machinery and try to figure out what it is we want. So, when the [new] job does come, or when we’re starting to get contracts together for something like that, we can pull the trigger and call [the machinery manufacturer], and say ‘ship that machine.’ We don’t have to go look at it, we’ve already seen it. We already know that’s what we want.”
Among the equipment in the plant is a recently added Comil case clamp, an Akron 855 edgebander, a contour edgebanding trimmer and a Rover B 7.65 FT flatbed CNC machining center, purchased from Biesse America. Also integral in the machining processes are: an Evans layup line, Masterwood point-to-point machining center, Koch dowel inserter and Giben panel saw. Commercial Cabinet Solutions is in the process of purchasing a Selco twin pusher saw to help with the increased workload. The company uses Microvellum software in the design and production of its custom products.
A Family Affair
Family is important at Commercial Cabinet Solutions. Maglicco is the shop foreman, while her brother Mark handles the orders and bids.
The ability to obtain and retain quality employees has helped Commercial Cabinet Solutions stay successful. Meadows says they typically recruit young, inexperienced people at the start of their careers and train them, rather than hiring experienced people. All employees are cross-trained on all of the equipment, and Meadows feels they have a really good crew in place.
A large contract on the horizon will present new challenges for the company. Space is already an issue, and they may need to hire and train additional workers for a third shift. “I just don’t know if there are enough hours in the day,” Meadows says.
“We take one day at a time, and just try our best,” he adds. “We probably fail as much as we succeed, that’s just part of it. We learn from our mistakes. Every day we learn something new here. I don’t think you ever stop learning.”
|TOP GROWTH COMPANIES (Based on 2006 sales)|
|Under $1 Million||$1 Million - $2.5 Million||$2.5 Million - $5 Million||$5 Million - $25 Million||Over $25 Million|
|Stein Wood Products||No. 5||78.40%||Commercial Cabinet Solutions||No. 1||109.53%||Millwork by Design||No. 6||75.79%||Trade Images||No. 4||79.70%||Monarch Industries Inc.||No. 21||49.75%|
|Forest Creek Inc.||No. 8||70.84%||Imperial Casework||No.2||83.95%||HPL Contract Inc.||No. 11||62.40%||International Designer Transitions||No. 10||66.21%||Brandom Cabinets||No. 36||35.08%|
|L&L Woodworks||No. 9||69.27%||Cutting Edge Woodworking||No. 3||83.26%||Pollaro Custom Furniture||No. 19||50.22%||Riverwoods Mill Inc.||No. 14||58.73%||Royal Industries||No. 58||24.22%|
|Walker Woodworking Inc.||No. 12||61.24%||Wood Colony Woodworks||No. 7||71.95%||Cabinet Components Inc.||No. 25||43.28%||Bruewer Woodwork Mfg.||No. 16||56.71%||Wellborn Forest Products||No. 64||22.62%|
|Country Woodworkers Ltd.||No. 13||60.18%||Southern Minnesota Woodcraft||No. 15||58.35%||Veneer One Inc.||No. 37||34.93%||PremierGarage Systems||No. 17||56.40%||Woodmeister||No. 54||22.52%|
|The Carpenter Shop||No. 20||50.21%||Venuti Woodworking Inc.||No. 18||53.65%||Cabinet Max Corp.||No. 38||34.57%||Architectural Arts Inc.||No. 28||39.60%||Classic Cabinets Inc.||No. 68||21.77%|
|YB Normal Custom Woodworking||No. 22||46.31%||Brown Enterprises||No. 27||40.04%||Architechtural Millwork of St. Louis||No. 39||34.37%||Norelco Cabinets Ltd.||No. 29||38.99%||Panel Processing Inc.||No. 75||20.18%|
|Spyker Specialty Millwork||No. 23||43.90%||Woodworks Int’l. of Clearwater||No. 30||38.97%||Builders Choice Custom Cabinets||No. 40||32.70%||Precision Harboard Components||No. 31||38.25%||Great Lake Woods Inc.||No. 81||18.08%|
|Zub Construction Inc.||No. 24||43.75%||Centorbi Custom Cabinetry||No. 32||37.71%||WoodArts System Inc.||No. 46||29.20%||Ovation Cabinetry Inc.||No. 34||35.85%||Jasper Seating Co. Inc.||No. 84||16.65%|
|Doopoco Enterprises||No. 26||41.20%||Village Handcrafted Cabinetry||No. 33||37.22%||Cleora Sterling Corp.||No. 50||26.73%||Wisconsin Built Inc.||No. 41||32.38%||Showplace Wood Products||No. 89||15.34%|
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