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Forging ahead: after suffering the slings and arrows of 9/11 and an economic recession, WOOD 100 companies rebounded in 2003 and far more often than not see better things to come for the rest of this year and next.

Times are good for companies that rank among Wood & Wood Products' 15th Annual WOOD 100.

As a group, the 93 U.S. and seven Canadian companies experienced an average increase of 16.8% from 2002 to 2003. The median growth is slightly higher--18.5%--if MasterBrand Cabinets Inc. (No. 67) is removed from the calculation. MasterBrand, parent of Aristokraft, Omega, Diamond and other popular cabinet brands, reported sales of $1.5 billion in 2003, more than the other 99 WOOD 100 companies combined. The second biggest company, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. (No. 99), posted sales of $165,000 million in 2003.

Fully 85 of the WOOD 100 companies posted double-digit increases last year, including 47 that reported 2002 to 2003 sales gains of 25% or better. This year's WOOD 100 pack is led by North Forty Fine Furniture of Regina, SK. The six-year-old manufacturer of custom furniture, cabinets and other wood products saw its sales increase to $641,000 (Can.) in 2003, up 93.7% over 2002. North Forty edged out D.R. Nickelson & Co. by 0.5% to become the first Canadian company to hold the top spot in the WOOD 100. (See North Forty's story on page 60.)

Twenty-eight of the WOOD 100 respondents point to customer service as the major reason for their company's success. Increased productivity, 22%, and the dedication of a skilled workforce, 21%, are the second and third most cited success factors, respectively.

This year is also shaping up as a banner year for the vast majority of the WOOD 100 companies. Representatives for 92 of the WOOD 100 companies say they expect to generate more revenue in 2004 than in 2003; 68 say they expect their firms to post sales increases of greater than 10%. (See chart below.) Lopresti Millwork (No. 29) and Drawer Box Associates (No. 4) have to be considered early favorites for next year's WOOD 100 crown, based on predictions of 2004 sales growth of 300% and 265%, respectively.

Perhaps even more encouraging is that 47% of WOOD 100 company representatives expect 2005 to be an "Excellent" year for their businesses; an additional 45% of them expect 2005 to be "Good." (See chart on page 57.)

Money Matters

While rising costs of materials and health-care benefits have hit virtually every woodworking business, 55 of the WOOD 100 company representatives say they managed to increase their profit margins compared to three years ago. Conversely, 17 say their profit margins have shrunk during that same time span. (See chart page 57.)

That said, profit margins rank as the third top concern for WOOD 100 executives. Thirty-two of WOOD 100 representatives cite profit margins as one of the three concerns from a list of 13 topics, including 12 who say it is their top concern. Closely related, 28 of the WOOD executives say they worry about the impact of price cutting on their business. (See story and chart on page 62.)

More WOOD 100 Facts

* Forty-four of the WOOD 100 firms were also featured in last year's report.

* Twenty-five of the companies are malting at least their fifth appearance in the WOOD 100.

* Wooden Mallet (No. 90) is making its 12th straight appearance; Lexington Mfg. (No. 81) is also making its 12th appearance.

* Appalachian Wood Products (No. 100) and WW Wood Products (No. 48) are each 11-time veterans of the WOOD 100, including the last 10 reports.

* Fleetwood Fixtures (No. 20) and Oak Craft (No. 55) are each appearing in the WOOD 100 for the 10th time.

* Forty-six of the companies are custom shops, 36 are production shops mad 18 run semi-custom operations.

* Nine of the companies hail from California, followed by seven each from Texas and Wisconsin, and six each front Florida, Illinois, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

Ex-Cop Runs Top Shop

From pounding the pavement to beating the competition, Roly Thibault's retirement from the police force and subsequent second career as a woodworker has been rewarding, but far from relaxing.

Thibault, who set off making high-end furniture as a one-man band in 1998 after ending a 21-year career with the Regina, SK, police department, now has seven employees working for him. The company's sales exploded in 2003, reaching $641,000 (Can.). That represented a 93.7% increase over 2002 sales, good enough to place North Forty No. 1 in this year's WOOD 100 Report. It is a strong follow-up to the company's No. 7 rank in the 2003 WOOD 100.

As its name implies, North Forty's 17,000-square-foot plant is situated on a 40-acre plot 10 minutes from downtown Regina. As the company grows, it strays further from its roots in terms of product mix and technology.

"When I started woodworking by myself, I would make high-end residential furniture, like a $50,000 dining room furniture set," Thibault says. Now the company's business is 75% commercial and 25% residential.

"With commercial work, we're moving into tighter deadlines," Thibault says. "We need machines that work faster than a man with a chisel." To this end, Thibault has invested in Cabinet Vision and AutoCAD software, two Altendorf sliding table saws with a third on order, a Holz-Her edgebander, a Busellato CNC machining center, a Weinig moulder and other production equipment.

'Diversification Is Paramount'

While the new equipment helps North Forty put out more product faster, Thibault says it also adds pressure for him to bring in more business to keep it all running. He says it is a good thing that his shop can handle a wide variety of custom work, from curved reception desks and kiosks through cabinets and ease goods. A recent project involved making 50 passage doors with Lyptus from Weyerhaeuser.

"Diversification is paramount. If a big project were to fall through and we didn't have the ability to do other types of work, we could be in big trouble," Thibault says. "Diversification comes with its own set of perils. You have to have a more skilled workforce."

Thibault says his crew is a nice blend of veterans, including two with more than 20 years of woodworking experience, and enthusiastic novices. "My guys are able to really take ownership of a project from design concept through manufacturing and installation," Thibault says.

Thibault says working as a police officer taught him a thing or two about "man management." "It's important to treat your people with respect and to reward them through programs like profit sharing and bonuses," Thibault says.

What's in Store

Thibault uses the Internet extensively for sending and receiving proposals and researching suppliers, yet his company does not have a Web site. That will probably chaise as North Forty looks beyond the Regina area for business. But for now, North Forty has all the work it can handle. Thibault and his employees are regularly logging 50- to 55-hour weeks; he expects his sales to hit nearly $900,000 (Can.) this year.

"Growth is a funny thing and can be a two-edge sword," Thibault says. "I want to grow at my pace and not just, dive in. I always plan ahead. I don't take unnecessary risks."

Even WOOD 100 Execs Have Worries

As fall blows around the corner, its winds carry with it the three-year anniversary of Sept. 11, continuing conflicts in the Middle East, and, of course, the National Election. These are but three issues that could give cause for business executives to voice their discontent with the economy, the wood products industry being no exception.

For the fifth consecutive year, representatives of WOOD 100 companies cite the economy as their No. 1 concern. One WOOD 100 executive touts "get rid of W," while a few others hype, "keep Bush in office," as their solution for keeping the economy afloat.

Political postulating aside, even the companies with the best growth in the business know that growth does not cancel out concerns. Taking the podium for the top three concerns were the economy, employee recruitment and price-cutting (see chart). Read what the representatives of these prospering companies have to say about their top concerns and how they plan to address them.

Top Concern: The Economy

"The construction market is our prime concern, and considering the growth in that sector of the economy above all others, we have to continue to control costs and keep profit margins as high as possible," says a cabinetmaker from the mountain states.

An East coast cabinetry company executive says he plans to compensate for economic concerns by "Developing products that are not affordable to only the wealthiest clientele. In essence, broadening our client base to better weather a storm."

A furniture business representative says of his company's financial outlook: "We try to keep our debt down to bridge us through the lean times. But we give the customer what they want when they want--always. We find a way to keep our customers satisfied. Our reputation is the most important aspect to our future."

Generally, companies' economic goals are to diversify their customer base, penetrate new markets, add equipment to gear up for expected growth, and develop lean production methods and training programs.

Second Top Concern: Employee Recruitment and Retention

Almost half of the WOOD 100 respondents also share the sentiment of one Midwestern cabinetry representative, who says, "Finding the best employees is half the battle!"

A Southern woodworker laments, "Clone the good employees! Everybody wants a paycheck, but nobody wants to work for it. The employee situation is going to get worse."

How do you solve the employee crunch? An executive from one coastal company suggests, "We advocate bringing in younger people (or people looking to learn the trade) and challenge them with our caliber of work. We are always throwing less skilled, or new hires, into the mix with the more skilled and disciplined personnel. I always tell them that two years in our shop is the equivalent of 10 years in some other ships in the area."

Most companies looking to improve employee recruitment, retention and overall skills plan to develop better training methods, provide better benefits and improve the working environment. Ensuring that employees enjoy their work experience--such as giving them the satisfaction of seeing a project through from start to finish--was also a common goal.

"One of our key employees, a journeyman of 30 years experience, commented to me that it had been a year since he had taken a project from start to finish totally by himself," says a custom cabinetry employer. "Being aware of his frustration, I told him I would look for a job that we could give him that would fulfill his need. He then commented, 'But you may not want to go back to not making money.'"

Third Top Concern: Price Cutting

"When our competitors gouge their own prices for the sake of getting the contract, this usually means they are putting themselves out of business," explains a representative from a coastal architectural millwork company. "We always maintain our pricing structures, but, more importantly, we always maintain a high degree of customer service."

A staircase manufacturer says, "We are in the midst of a 'how low can you go' pricing war between a couple of our competitors," he says. "We have just recently signed a union contract, and we hope that our competitors will follow, which will result in a 'level playing field' and eliminate the ability to give work away."

1 [A]

NORTH FORTY FINE FURNITURE Regina, SK, Canada

'02: $331,000(Can) Sales '03: +95.7% Est. 1998 '03: $641,000(Can) Projected '04: +40% Employees: 8

Custom wood products including cabinets, doors and desks

North Forty Fine Furniture has seen its sales jump 237% since 2001--the result of implementing up-to-date technology and adhering to tight deadlines, Roly Thibault says. "We are developing with the aid of new technology so as to increase productivity with no increase in manpower," he says. Despite North Forty Fine's successes, Thibault says he still finds buyers' preoccupations with prices frustrating. "Service and quality are extremely important to us, [but] the service contractors seem to only care about the lowest bid," he says. "We have lost bids by a mere few dollars, this after being told our product was outstanding."

2 [B]

D.R. NICKELSON & CO. INC. Lake City, FL

'02:$1,231,000 Sales '03: +93.2% Est. 2000 '03:$2,378,000 Projected '04: +20% Employees: 20

Architectural millwork

Dale Nickelson, owner of D.R. Nickelson & Co., says satisfied customers are the key to success at his company. "Most of our work is generated through customer referrals," Niekelson says. Eighty percent of the company's projects are commercial wood and laminate casework, while the remaining 20 percent is custom residential pieces. To keep up with demand, Nickelson has outfitted his facility with up-to-date equipment, including a Holzma HPP81-4200 panel saw, an IMA edgebander, Kremlin finishing equipment and Pattern Systems software.

3 [B]

ACTION WOOD TECHNOLOGIES Clinton Township, MI

'02:$959,000 Sales '03: +89.4% Est. 1984 '03:$1,816,000 Projected '04: +25% Employees: 12

Products for the military, custom woodshipping containers for domestic and export shipping, industrial and military packaging

Action Wood Technologies, a newcomer to the WOOD 100, has seen an increase in government contracts since the war in Iraq began, President Christopher Grobbel says. "Our customer that we package the goods for government/military shipment has also increased [order sizes]," Grobbel says. "Many of the items we manufacture and/or package for the military we see going straight to the Middle East." The company's military product line includes seat backs, cushions and assemblies; tabletops and mapboards; insulation panels; wood fillers, runners and chock blocks; shipping and ammunition containers; and tool repair boxes. Productivity has been increased by two high-speed CNC machining centers and a four-head moulder.

4 [A]

DRAWER BOX ASSOCIATES Zebulon, GA

'02:$250,000 Sales '03:+85.2% Est. 1999 '05:$465,000 Projected '04: +265% Employees: 16

Dovetail drawer boxes

Drawer Box Associates owner Kevin Clements knows he has a "very hot" product on his hands--and that has translated into a boost in sales for his company. 2003 sales approached $500,000, and prospects are even better for 2004; Clements predicts a near tripling in business. Along with picking up a couple of good OEM accounts, "our custom orders are going through the roof," he says. Drawer Box's marketing strategy also has been an integral component of its business. "Our focus has been obtaining new customers in the kitchen cabinet manufacturing [industry] and growing our custom business," Clements says.

5 [A]

CABINET KING INC./GREEN LEAF CABINETRY Brook Park, OH

'02:$135,000 Sales '03: +81.5% Est. 1998 '05:$245,000 Projected '04: +15% Employees: 3-5

Cabinetry

Cabinet King/Green Leaf Cabinetry, a company focusing on "environmentally friendly" cabinetry, makes its WOOD 100 debut. President David Rupp says the company is one of the first to use recycled, sustainable, non-toxic materials and finishes in cabinetry construction. The company has found success through new product development, Rupp says. Some of its offerings include Forest Stewardship Council certified wood; hoards made from agriculture residue fibers; stains, paints and finishes with zero VOCs; and flooring and countertops made of flax, wood flour and jute.

6 [A]

DOOLEY'S MILLWORK LTD. St. Catharines, ON

'02:$178,000(Can) Sales '03: +78.1% Est. 1990 '03:$317,000(Can) Projected '04: +10% Employees: 2

Specialty custom architectural woodwork

Dooley's Millwork was the first Canadian company certified by the Architectural Woodwork Institute under its Quality Certification Program, and President John Dooley promotes his company's strict adherence to AWI standards when reaching out to potential customers. "Architects specify AWI standards for commercial work, so they know what to expect," Dooley says. "On residential work, I generally show them the manual and explain briefly a few of the salient points." Dooley's clients include architects, interior designers, historic restoration consultants, builders, developers, general contractors and home owners.

7 [A]

ADVANCED WOODWORK Palm Desert, CA

'02:$205,000 Sales '03: +74.1% Est. 1998 '05:$557,000 Projected '04: +60% Employees: 5

Millwork and casework construction

One of the most important pieces of equipment in the Advanced Woodwork facility may be the coffee maker. Philip Nikolich, the company's owner and partner, says "lots of caffeine" has been a vital ingredient in the company's recipe for success. Other important factors include: focusing on increasing business profits while keeping payroll small, setting business goals, making good contacts and keeping them happy, and, of course, good, old-fashioned determination. Those concepts have resulted in skyrocketing sales, which Nikolich expects to continue next year.

8 [D]

PREMIER EUROCASE INC. Denver, CO

'02:$7,764,000 Sales '03: +71.2% Est. 1987 '03:$13,291,000 Projected '04: +10% Employees: 36

Store fixtures and OEM components

According to a story in the July 2003 issue of Wood & Wood Products, Premier EuroCase estimated that its 2003 sales would amount to $12 million. The company surpassed that goal--by nearly $1.3 million--and now makes its second consecutive appearance lit the WOOD 100. Premier EuroCase's highly automated plant was the first in the United States to install a Homag BOF twin-table CNC router, and President Andy Wilzoch says he plans to introduce more equipment. "We are adding a Wemhoner short-cycle melamine press and a Wemhoner membrane press to be in service in fall 2004," he says. Reduced delivery times also have been significant in keeping customers satisfied. "Shorter lead times while manufacturing quality has been the largest single factor in our success," Wilzoch says.

9 [A]

WESTWIND WOOD SPECIALTIES INC. Quinter, KS

'02:$438,000 Sales '03: +66.0% Est. 2000 '03:$727,000 Projected '04: +75% Employees: 16

Custom cabinet components

Business has been good for Westwind Wood Specialties since its start nearly four years ago--but 2003 was especially good. With sales increasing 350% since 2001, the company predicts an even better year in 2004. The "customer service oriented" company manufactures custom cabinet doors, drawer fronts and dovetail drawer boxes. "We have been told by several customers that our quality sells itself," President Troy Deaton says. "Our goal is to continue to give our customers freedom on styles, designs and profiles as competitively as possible."

10 [C]

OLD WORLD KITCHENS AND CUSTOM CABINETS LTD. Chilliwack, BC

'02: $2,042,000(Can) Sales '03: +62.9% Est. 1999 '05: $3,327,000(Can) Projected '04: +50% Employees: 33

Residential cabinetry

After holding the No. 4 spot on the WOOD 100 last year, Old World Kitchens and Custom Cabinets is back again near the top of the list, this time with 13 more employees. The company's President Ed Isaak credits solid customer service for the ever-increasing sales, which he predicts will continue in 2004. The company produces high-end residential cabinetry, including kitchens, vanities, desks, wall units, bars and other accessories as well as miscellaneous products for the home.

11 [A]

HANLEY DESIGN INC. Peoria, IL

'02:$156,000 Sales '03: +60.9% Est. 1989 '03:$251,000 Projected '04: +80% Employees: 8

Casework and millwork

After suffering a 29% drop in sales from 2001 to 2002, Henley Design bounced back in 2003. Commercial manufacturing of casework and millwork accounts for 90% of the company's business, and the remaining 10% comes from manufacturing and supplying multi-media cabinets, student and computer desks, student furnishings and residential custom casework and millwork. "The main contributing factor to ... growth in our business since 2001 was the development and setup of the shop to facilitate the current and ongoing growth of sales," says Mark Hanley, Hanley Design's secretary and treasurer. Other key components of the company's business are: the hire of an experienced estimator, low overhead, management of operations, and the hiring and training of dedicated employees.

12 [B]

CLOSET MASTER INC. Orlando, FL

'02:$1,431,000 Sales '03: +58.4% Est. 1997 '03:$2,266,000 Projected '04: +25% Employees: 31

Closet design, manufacturing and installation

Closet Master President Wayne Clark calls himself and his wife "very lucky business owners." The dedication of his employees has pushed Closet Master to the top, he says. "While Wall Street might not exactly approve of it, I have selected and hired the best people that were available at the best wages we could afford to pay," he says. "We have created a real family atmosphere at Closet Master, and it is because of the commitment each of these men and women have demonstrated." As a result, the company has more than doubled its sales since 2001. Employees also have recently started to use Virtual Systems software, which has been implemented with great success, Clark says. The company caters mainly to higher-end clientele.

13 [A]

R AND B CRAFTSMEN ASSOCIATES North Las Vegas, NV

'02:$451,000 Sales '03: +57.4% Est. 1987 '03:$710,000 Projected '04: 0% Employees: 4

Custom cabinets for commercial applications, and specialty items and custom furniture

R and B Craftsmen more than doubled its sales this year by providing consistently outstanding customer service, President Richard Failla says. "We excel at customer service, on-time deliveries, effective installation and quick response to punch lists, which are few and far between," he says. R and B's custom cabinets can be found in offices, hospitals, retail stores, schools and churches. New equipment at the company's facility includes a Technoma edgebander and a Komo CNC router.

14 [B]

HARBOR WOOD INC. Bridgeport, CT

'02:$917,000 Sales '03: +52.0% Est. 1993 "03:$1,394,000 Projected '04: +25% Employees: 25

Manufacturing and finishing of wood products

Working under the slogan "Great projects end with a great finish," Harbor Wood employees believe that the most significant facet of wood business success is the finishing process. "Lately it seems that a majority of our work is some sort of glaze finish, often a very complex color/glaze process which produces the kind of finish that consumers are looking for, but is difficult for the average woodworking shop to achieve," President Herb Storck says. Storck also points to his company's marketing campaign as a means of success. The strategy combines highly targeted, personalized mailings with general direct mail and selective advertising, including ads in small, local newspapers.

15 [D]

BURROWS MANUFACTURING LP Round Rock, TX

'02:$5,372,000 Sales '03: +49.3% Est. 1972 '05:$8,021,000 Projected '04: +20% Employees: 108

Unfinished and pre-finished cabinetry

Increased productivity in 2003 boosted sales for Burrows Manufacturing, which nearly nailed its projected sales increase of 50%. "We refined our process in every department, cross-trained many of our employees, and staggered our breaks and lunch periods to ensure that our bottleneck [areas were] worked without interruption," CEO Sherman Burrows says. "We expanded our second shift in our constraint departments to assure smooth material flow throughout the plant." The company also added an entire door department, requiring new machinery including two widebelt sanders, two shaper-sanders and an additional stain booth.

16 [B]

BEYER CUSTOM CABINETS LTD. West Salem, WI

'02:$1,350,000 Sales '05: +48.7% Est. 1987 '03:$2,007,000 Projected '04: +19% Employees: 28

Custom residential cabinetry and laminate and wood commercial specials

Listening to the customer is important in any business, but Beyer Custom Cabinets says good listening is its No. 1 priority. "Good information gathering at the beginning of the project" is especially crucial, says owner and General Manager Jerry Beyer. Eighty percent of the company's business comes from mid- to high-end custom residential cabinetry, and employees are prepared to coordinate with others working in the same house such as plumbers or electricians, Beyer says. That strategy has boosted Beyer Custom Cabinets into a spot in the WOOD 100 for the first time, following a 15.2% loss in sales from 2001 to 2002.

17 [D]

HOLLYWOOD WOODWORK INC. Hollywood, FL

'02:$16,408,000 Sales '03: +48.0% Est. 1968 '03:$24,292,000 Projected '04: +5% Employees: 175

Architectural woodwork

True to its name, Hollywood Woodwork shone like a star in 2003. After pulling in more than $24 million in sales, the company makes its fifth appearance in the WOOD 100, last appearing in 2001. "We do not see ourselves as sellers of woodwork, but rather as providers of our expertise in processes, solutions and customer success stories," says Yves DesMarais, president and CEO. The company's work appears in establishments such as hotels, casinos, corporate offices, government buildings, hospitals and senior citizen living facilities. "Our customer is always king," DesMarais says.

18 [B]

HOLMES-HALLY INDUSTRIES Tempe, AZ

"02:$1,260,000 Sales '03: +47.3% Est. 1997 '03:$1,856,000 Projected '04: +22% Employees: 15

Custom wood overlay garage doors

"Finding the best employees is half the battle," says Douglas Ziegigansberger, a manager at Holmes-Hally Industries. Luckily for Holmes-Hally, the company is on the winning side of that battle--and has soaring sales to prove it. Sales have increased 140% since 2001, when the company pulled in $771,000. The recent purchase of both Jet and Grizzly woodworking tools has made the company more competitive, and Ziegigansberger predicts that 2005 will be Holmes-Hally's best year ever.

19 [E]

SHOWPLACE WOOD PRODUCTS Harrisburg, SD

'02:$20,596,000 Sales '03: +45.93% Est. 1999 '03:$30,056,000 Projected '04: +25% Employees: 286

Kitchen and bath cabinetry

The 2002 South Dakota Business of the Year has "a culture that is open and looking for constant improvement in all areas, with the needs of our customer at the heart of our efforts," says Scott Korsten, director of marketing services and IT. That culture has played a key role in Showplace Wood Products' steadily rising employment and sales numbers, and has bumped the company up in the WOOD 100 listings from its No. 22 spot last year. The company concluded 2001 with 125 employees and about $14 million in sales; since then, both have more than doubled. "We have a core group of owner/managers with many years of industry experience," Korsten says. "We also have attracted a core group of sales reps, employees and dealers with a common desire to give the homeowner the best product and service possible."

20 [E]

FLEETWOOD FIXTURES Reading, PA

'02:$24,546,000 Sales '03: +45.9% Est. 1969 '03:$35,812,000 Projected '04: +10% Employees: 150

Custom wood and metal store fixtures

If Superman needed a job in the wood products industry, he'd fit right in at Fleetwood Fixtures. "Our employees are heroes: continually performing to the best of their abilities for company success," says Loretta Liskey, an executive assistant at Fleetwood. Since 1999, the company's sales have increased 84.6%. Formerly Fleetwood Industries, the company had six consecutive WOOD 100 appearances from 1996 to 2001--and three prior to that--before dropping off the list for two years. Back for its 10th appearance with its best year ever, the company's dedicated employees are the most crucial part of its business, Liskey says.

21 [B]

SUNWOOD DOORS INC. Long Beach, CA

'02:$1,424,000 Sales '03: +45.86% Est. 2000 '03:$2,077,000 Projected '04: +40% Employees: 31

Carriage house garage doors

Because Sunwood Doors must compete with national companies in the same field, the company concentrates on quick service to keep customers happy, General Manager Wesley Simmons says. "We strive to return quotes within one day if the request is received before 2 p.m., and we will deliver doors not only to the customer's shop but, if possible, to their job site," Simmons says. The company sells doors wholesale to contractors within California and also ships its products outside the state. Simmons has high expectations for the company's fourth year in business, and is projecting a sales increase of 40% in 2004.

22 [D]

RIEKE OFFICE INTERIORS Elgin, IL

'02:$3,816,000 Sales '03: +44.0% Est. 1992 '03:$5,495,000 Projected '04: +35% Employees: 48

Office furniture and workstations

After taking a hit with a 15.5% loss in sales from 2001 to 2002, Rieke Office Interiors more than recovered in 2003 with sales amounting to nearly $5.5 million. Success by the company is all about employee capabilities. "We hired an experienced CNC programmer/operator with tremendous 3-D skills," President Christopher Matus says. "The ability to render a model drawing of a reception desk for the customer, for example, has been a great sales tool. A second example is having a highly-skilled installer who can execute perfect cut-outs and handle tricky angles in the field." Key products for the job include a Komo CNC machine and Wilsonart laminates, Matus adds.

23 [D]

CONTOUR LAMINATES AND STONEWORKS Seattle, WA

'02:$4,849,000 Sales '03: +43.5% Est. 1957 '03:$6,956,000 Projected '04: N/A Employees: 65

Custom plastic laminate countertops and components, and fabrication of granite and natural quartz countertops

New product development has kept the competition for Contour Laminates and Stoneworks on its toes. To beef up sales, "we began marketing five new edge styles for plastic laminated countertops and started a state-of-the-art stone fabrication plant, focusing on newly developed natural quartz surfaces," President Charles J. Maiwurm says. The company's 2003 sales of nearly $7 million were almost 80% greater than 2000 sales, and Maiwurm knows the second time WOOD 100 company has a bright future.

24 [A]

OLD WORLD BUTCHER BLOCK FURNITURE Ellensburg, WA

'02:$203,000 Sales '03: +43.3% Est. 2000 '03:$291,000 Projected '04: +40% Employees: 7

Butcher block countertops and tables

Who says a "production shop" has to be big? With only seven employees, Old World Butcher Block Furniture increased sales 43.3% from 2002 to 2003, after seeing a 121% increase in sales the previous year. "We stand behind any product 100%," owner Helen Terry says. "If a client's order varies in any way from the order confirmation we send them, we replace the product free of charge. We also send out free small samples to clients to [help them] make the decision on what kind of wood and finish to choose."

25 [A]

DOGWOOD DESIGN Stow, MA

'02:$213,000 Sales '03: +43.2% Est. 1999 '03:$305,000 Projected '04: +20% Employees: 3

Commercial and residential cabinetry and millwork

Dogwood Design counts "top-notch" architects and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology among its customers, and a strong partnership with Cambridge Soundworks is giving the company further exposure, President Andrew Tolliver says. "We put our products in [Cambridge Soundworks'] stores, which makes their stores look great and generates business for us," Tolliver says. "Cambridge has given us its product for our own showroom, which will be completed soon and will be topped off with a link between our Web sites." By the end of September, Tolliver hopes to implement a marketing campaign advertising home theater systems to familiarize his customers with the product. "Everyone knows they need a kitchen or bath, but not as many understand how much fun a home theater can be," he says.

26 [D]

MADSEN FIXTURE & MILLWORK INC. Forest Lake, MN

'02:$4,219,000 Sales '03: +42.8% Est. 1998 '03:$6,024,000 Projected '04: 0% Employees: 48

Retail fixtures, office furniture, commercial cabinetry, casework and other millwork

In 2003, Madsen Fixture & Millwork more than doubled its expected growth of 20% to earn a place in the WOOD 100 for the fifth consecutive year. A sales increase of 33% from 2001 to 2002 placed the company at No. 31 last year, a big step up from its No. 98 spot in 2002. President Jeffrey Trippe says satisfied customers contribute the most to the company's continued successes. "We give the customers what they want, when they want--always," he says. "We find a way to keep our customers satisfied. Our reputation is the most important aspect to our future."

27 [A]

ALPHA CABINET COMPONENTS North Salt Lake, UT

'02:$643,000 Sales '03: +38.7% Est. 1998 '03:$892,000 Projected '04: +35% Employees: 8

Wholesale supplier of knock down, RTA frameless cabinet boxes and slab doors For Alpha Cabinet Components, bigger is better. "In October of 2002 we went from a 4,000-square foot facility to 12,000 square feet and doubled our capacity, shortened our lead times and increased profitability," President Evan Roth says. "By the end of this year, if all goes well, we will have almost tripled our production since 2000." The company has increased gross sales every year it has been in business, and Roth hopes to see more good numbers next year. "The addition of a 28-inch crosscut beam saw and new edgebander should facilitate the increase in productivity without adding additional employees," he says.

28 [A]

ACORN WOODWORKS INC. Minneapolis, MN

'02:$857,000 Sales '03: +38.5% Est. 1998 '03:$910,000 Projected '04: +30% Employees: 11

Custom cabinets and fixtures for restaurants and homes

Steve Gunderson, owner of Acorn Woodworks, makes sure that his company keeps its priorities in check. "We stress communication and service to back up our sales," Gunderson says. Consistently excellent customer service has led to the first appearance in the WOOD 100 for the 6-year-old business. The addition of new equipment also has helped the company keep its customers satisfied. In recent years, the 11-person shop added both a Timesavers widebelt sander and a Ritter line boring machine to its production line.

29 [A]

LOPRESTI MILLWORKS Van Nuys, CA

'02:$650,000 Sales '03: +36.2% Est. 2000 '03:$885,000 Projected '04: +300% Employees: 26

Architectural wood doors, windows, custom moulding and cabinetry

Employee dedication has kept LoPresti Millworks ahead of the pack, CEO Peter LoPresti says. "We had begun as a cabinet shop," LoPresti says. "As we evolved into primarily a sash shop, we realized the need to have skilled door and window guys who understood production. We have hired the right people for this task." LoPresti also has picked up the right equipment for his business. In the past two years, the company has purchased a five-head shaper, a larger jointer and planer, three more shapers and a door clamping machine. Expect LoPresti Millworks to be in a much more prominent position in the WOOD 100 next year--LoPresti predicts a 300% sales increase for 2004. He also says 2005 will be the best year ever for the company.

30 [E]

HUNTWOOD INDUSTRIES Spokane, WA

'02:$39,910,000 Sales '03: +35.2% Est. 1988 '03:$53,961,000 Projected '04: +30% Employees: 750

Custom cabinetry

The last time Huntwood Industries was a part of the WOOD 100, a different member of the Bush family was president. But after 12 years off the list, Huntwood is back for a second time after amassing nearly $54 million in sales in 2003. The company, which manufactures custom-framed cabinetry for kitchen, bath, home entertainment, home office and home library applications, diligently works with customers to develop new products. "Generally speaking, we don't believe in a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to cabinetry," says Chris Stookey, Huntwood's director of marketing and corporate development. "We are here to build what the customer needs."

31 [C]

KNIGHT INDUSTRIES INC. North Clarendon, VT

'02:$3,523,000 Sales '03: +34.8% Est. 1982 '03:$4,749,000 Projected '04: +20% Employees: 50

Custom wood kitchen cabinetry

Knight Industries advertises little, instead relying on its customer service to bring in sales. The strategy has worked well for the company, which makes its third appearance in the WOOD 100. Over its 22 years in business, the company has won 19 awards for its design and manufacturing of kitchen cabinetry. Knight industries offers a variety of special cabinetry features, including an "appliance garage," pull-out oil and vinegar drawers, decorative hoods and mantels, a wooden cutlery tray and pull-out trash and recycling centers.

32 [D]

BUILDERS CABINET SUPPLY INC. Chicago, IL

'02:$4,647,000 Sales '03: +34.3% Est. 1987 '03:$6,241,000 Projected '04: +40% Employees: 47

Frameless kitchen and bath cabinets

Rapidly increasing sales have been both a blessing and a curse for Builders Cabinet Supply--the company has been forced to alter the very component that contributed to its success. Reduced lead times instigated a boost in sales from 2002 to 2003, CEO Brian Benner says, but those times have since increased. "Our historical lead times were two weeks, but we have experienced a lot of growth and have bad to kick our lead times out to three to four weeks," Benner says. Despite the change, Benner predicts an even better year in 2004. Production for builders accounts for 80% of the company's work, and the remaining 20% comes from individual homeowners.

33 [E]

TJ HALE CO. Menomonee Falls, WI

'02:$29,990,000 Sales '03: +33.9% Est. 1950

'03:$40,146,000 Projected '04: 0% Employees: 150

Custom store fixtures and interiors

Since TJ Hale's 50th anniversary in 2000, sales have shot up 41.2% while the number of employees has remained the same. "With so many choices available today, retailers gravitate toward fixture companies that have a strong team of talented and detail-oriented people," President and COO Reed Felton says. "The focus must always be on solutions and a relationship of mutual trust." Working under the slogan "Our business is making you look good," TJ Hale employees provide customers with exceptional service and flexibility, Felton says. 2004 marks the company's ninth inclusion in the WOOD 100; its last appearance was in 2001.

34 [A]

SHAW WOODWORKING INC. Cotuit, MA

'02:$258,000 Sales '03: +33.3% Est. 1990 '03:$344,000 Projected '04: +20% Employees: 4

Manufactures bathroom, kitchen, entertainment and storage cabinetry; provide retailers with store fixtures and small furniture

This small, family-owned cabinet manufacturer makes its debut in the WOOD 100 with a 33% increase in sales. "We feel we are only as good as the people who work for us," President James R. Shaw says. "Their continuous improvement in the quality, person al service and our positive working environment are the foundations of our company." The company, which provides custom cabinetry for builders, designers and architects, recently purchased a Tiger Stop saw system, a Whirlwind upcut saw and a third shaper.

35 [B]

DOVETAIL DESIGNS & MILLWORK INC. Billings, MT

'02:$981,000 Sales '03: +35.0% Est. 1979 '03:$1,305,000 Projected '04: 0% Employees: 16

Residential and commercial custom cabinetry, doors and moulding

A new piece of equipment can make all the difference, as Mark Sevier, president of Dovetail Designs & Millwork Inc., will tell you. The addition of an SCM Routech 230 to his facility revved up profit margins in 2003. Before purchasing the CNC router, Sevier himself would draw out a job and give it to a journeyman, who worked out the bugs while building the project. "Today the process goes from me to the CAD operator, who does shop drawings on Cabinet Vision, creates the files for the router and cuts the parts," Sevier says. "This has put significantly more hours in getting the project to the floor but greatly reduced the hours in cutting and machining the cabinet parts. The accuracy and repeatability of the processes is remarkable."

36 [D]

MISSION BELL MFG. Morgan Hill, CA

'02:$13,485,000 Sales '03: +32.7% Est. 1959 '03:$17,901,000 Projected '04: +10% Employees: 130

Architectural woodwork, millwork and custom casework

In the battle of the bids, Mission Bell can come out on top, whether or not the company offers the cheapest price. "Most of our customers are repeat customers and they typically receive multiple bids on each project," Vice President Mark Scianna says. "Sometimes they award us the contract not based on 'low bid' but [on] the customer service and quality we have given them in the past." Those successes have led to Mission Bell's WOOD 100 debut in its 45th year of manufacturing. The company's customer service policy revolves around meeting the customer's schedule, Scianna says. "Since the millworker is one of the only manufacturing subcontractors on a construction project, being able to quickly react to schedule changes is very difficult--and yet very important--to providing the best customer service," he says.

37 [C]

ST. LOUIS CLOSET CO. St. Louis, MO

'02:$2,511,000 Sales '03: +32.4% Est. 1991 '03:$3,324,000 Projected '04: +20% Employees: 40

Custom closets and organizational systems for residential and commercial users

With sales 1,308% higher last year than in St. Louis Closet Co.'s first year of business, 2003 was a big year for the company. President Jennifer Quinn Williams says it is customer service that keeps her business on top. "Anyone can sell laminate shelving--it's the whole experience that makes the difference to the customer and brings him back," she says. She has high expectations for 2004 as well; the company has made several equipment purchases in the past few months, including a DISA CS-2 maxi dust collector, a Holzma HPP 380 panel saw, a Homag KAL 310 edgebander and an Altendorf F-92 sliding table saw.

38 [B]

LAMB HARDWOOD LUMBER INC. Ontario, WI

'02:$1,065,000 Sales '03: +32.3% Est. 1986 '03:$1,409,000 Projected '04: +7-8% Employees: 11

Flooring, mouldings and accessories, plinth blocks, corner blocks, rosettes and lumber

After experiencing a small dip in sales from 2001 to 2002, Lamb Hardwood increased gross sales more than 30% last year to make its WOOD 100 debut. "Because our customer service and product quality have been, and continue to be, excellent, our success has most recently been attributed to increased productivity," says co-owner Sandra Lamb. "With newer and better equipment, we are able to consistently beat promise dates and have also been able to focus more on wholesale rather than retail orders." Purchases include a six-head Weinig Unimat Gold moulder, a Whirlwind cutoff saw, a transfer conveyor, a Timberwolf chip blower and a Chevy Duramax diesel truck.

39 [C]

ARTISTIC STAIRBUILDERS INC. Mokena, IL

'02:$2,895,000 Sales '03: +31.8% Est. 1998 '03:$3,816,000 Projected '04: +12% Employees: 59

Milled staircase manufacturing and installation

Another year brings another $1 million increase in sales for Artistic Stairbuilders, formerly Artistic Stairs Inc. After placing No. 16 in the WOOD 100 last year, the company is back with a new name and a consistently positive outlook. "The addition of our five-axis CNC will give us the ability to easily manufacture extremely complex curved and twisted handrails and fittings," President Jeff Steiger says. "We are also going to start producing stairs the 'European' way, with all 'winded' threads and 'wreathed' handrails." The company changed its name to evoke a new image and reflect its recent signing of a union contract, Steiger says.

40 [D]

WHIP'S CARPENTRY Burlington, ON

'02:$11,584,000(Can) Sales '03: +31.4% Est. 1980 '03:$15,220,000(Can) Projected '04: +10% Employees: 76

Closet organizing systems, store and office fixtures and commercial casework

Whip's Carpentry's sixth year in the WOOD 100 is a result of increased productivity, Vice President Mike Lycklama says. "We have increased our productivity through modular work cells that allow us to work in a team environment," he says. "This has allowed us to have better flow-through of a product in our plant with less work in progress and allows us to increase our capacity without increasing our capital overhead." The company spent the majority of last year implementing lean manufacturing and cellular manufacturing into its plant, Lycklama says, and also purchased an integrated edgebanding and drilling line with material handling.

41 [C]

CREATIVE MOULDINGS & MILLWORK INC. Mansfield, TX

'02:$3,258,000 Sales '03: +31.1% Est. 1999 '03:$4,272,000 Projected '04: +0% Employees: 16

Hardwood moulding and millwork for wholesalers supplying commercial and residential installers

A move to a bigger facility and long work days has put Creative Mouldings & Millwork ahead of the competition, President Scott Howard says. "We [do] our very best to meet our customers' expectations and then exceed them," Howard says. "If that means we need to work late or on Saturdays, then that's what we do." The company's new facility is 2.2 times bigger than the previous one, and Howard also purchased new equipment to coincide with the move, including a woodwaste grinder, a computerized ripsaw and a Torit dust collector. "The use of high-quality, well-maintained equipment assures us the best possible opportunity to produce a quality product with the least amount of labor," Howard adds.

42 [D]

SOUTH SHORE MILLWORK INC. Norton, MA

'02:$4,243,000 Sales '03: +30.3% Est. 1992 '03:$5,530,000 Projected '04: +20% Employees: 35

Custom architectural millwork for residences and commercial projects

In recent years, South Shore Millwork has focused its attention on the high-end residential market--and the effort is paying off. About 75% of its jobs are residential. "The best advertising for us is word of mouth," President Jeffrey Burtons says. "We do a little advertising, but it is just to keep our name out there--it does not directly produce much work." The company, which manufactures stile-and-rail doors, windows, trim, built-ins, cabinets and more, also uses its Web site as a "selling tool," Burtons adds.

43 [B]

RIVERWOODS MILL INC. St. George, UT

'02:$1,880,000 Sales '03: +28.2% Est. 1997 '03: $2,410,000 Projected '04: +50% Employees: 40

Residential cabinetry

You won't see any ads for Riverwoods Mill--the company does no advertising. Because of this strategy, "it has been imperative that we take care of our customers the best we can," President Chris Peterson says. "This has proven to be our best source of growth." Tim company has fared well this way, with sales up 28.2% in 2003 and this year's sales through August surpassing 2003's figures. The company is considering expanding into additional markets, such as Scottsdale, AZ, and Southern California. "I know we haven't made every single customer we've ever had perfectly happy, but I know our percentage of success is extremely high," Peterson says. "It has never been for lack of trying."

44 [C]

EUROPEAN DESIGN INC. Glasgow, KY

'02:$2,286,000 Sales '03: +26.9% Est. 1988 '03:$2,900,000 Projected '04: +30% Employees: 32

Dental operatory and sterilization cabinets

Since its No. 12 appearance in the WOOD 100 last year, European Design has continued to rev up business by increasing productivity. "We have purchased a second Brandt edgebander, a second Thermwood CNC router, a Gannomat dowel drill and inserter and an Altandorf F-45 sliding saw," President John Brinkerhoff says. "Our productivity through the use of skilled labor and CNC machining has been a significant factor in our growth." The company exceeded its projected growth of 24% for 2003, and Brinkerhoff expects sales to be even better in 2004. European Design's cabinets are sold nationwide through a full service dealer, Brinkerhoff says.

45 [B]

CBR WOODWORKING LLC Riverside, NJ

'02: $1,637,000 Sales '03: +26.8% Est. 1989 '03:$2,075,000 Projected '04: +10% Employees: 27

Residential custom furniture, commercial and residential custom architectural millwork

CBR Woodworking makes its debut in the WOOD 100 thanks to its employees' skills and dedication, says Robert Schultz, the company's owner and president. Schultz brings his personal knowledge of the industry back to employees at the 15-year-old company and "preaches" woodworking to them, he says. "We also advocate bringing in younger people ... and challenge them with our caliber of work, schedule and manufacturing technique," Schultz says. "We are always throwing less-skilled [employees] and new hires into the mix with the more skilled and disciplined personnel."

46 [E]

WELLBORN FOREST PRODUCTS Alexander City, AL

'02:$21,627,000 Sales '03: +25.3% Est. 1987 '03:$27,097,000 Projected '04: +25% Employees: 190

Kitchen and bath cabinetry, primarily semi-custom products, specializing in glazed and specialty finishes

New products continue to bring success to Wellborn Forest Products, says Blake Harmon, vice president of sales. "Wellborn Forest has just introduced a new line of decorative imported vanities, a wainscoting program in cooperation with New England Classics, and a line of islands, hutches and wine [storage products]," he says. "These products, along with our broad line of door styles and colors, will continue to make us one of the most innovative companies in our business." In 2003, the company exceeded projected sales by 7% and claimed a spot in the WOOD 100 for the third year in a row. Harmon expects similarly successful sales totals in 2004.

47 [E]

SUPERIOR CABINETS Saskatoon, SK

'02: $20,178,000(Can) Sales '03: + 25.1% Est. 1980 '03: $25,246,000(Can) Projected '04: +20% Employees: 265

Kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, fireplaces, wall units, custom cabinetry

It has been one "best year ever" after another for Superior Cabinets, which has seen sales increase by more than 50% since 2000. Vital to its success, skilled and dedicated employees are the company's most valuable asset, Marketing Manager Pam Graves says. "Employee benefits and educational opportunities offered by Superior Cabinets have contributed to retaining many good employees," she says. The company also has purchased plenty of new equipment in the past couple of years, including a panel saw, edgebanders, a return conveyor, processing centers and an automatic dovetail machine.

48 [E]

WW WOOD PRODUCTS INC. Dudley, MO

'02:$29,066,000 Sales '03: +24.09% Est. 1978 '03:$36,068,000 Projected '04: +45% Employees: 500

Kitchen and bath cabinetry

If there were a limit on one company's number of WOOD 100 appearances, WW Wood Products would be in trouble. This year marks the company's 11th inclusion on the list since 1993. And the future looks even brighter, President Ron Wunderlich says. After the company tallied a 25% jump in sales from 2002 to 2003, Wunderlich predicts an even more impressive year in 2004--45% better than last year. "Our customer service is one of our main assets," Wunderlich says. "We have been able to maintain this service with increased production, new product development and maintaining delivery times."

49 [D]

MONTBLEAU & ASSOCIATES San Diego, CA

'02:$9,113,000 Sales '03: +24.05% Est. 1989 '03:$11,305,000 Projected '04: N/A Employees: 100

Custom woodwork

After losing nearly $2.5 million in sales from 2001 to 2002, Montbleau & Associates recovered in 2003 and pulled in more than $11.3 million in sales. Increased productivity helped the company bring sales back up, President Ron Montbleau says. The company, which works out of a 36,000-square-foot facility, manages, engineers and produces commercial woodworking and laminate projects. Services include: commercial office tenant improvement, architectural woodwork, custom fine furniture, cabinetry, hotels and hospitality, laboratory casework, and fast-track and design-built projects.

50 [E]

BARBOSA CABINETS INC. Tracy CA

'02:$37,236,000 Sales '03: +23.5% Est. 1978 '03:$45,988,000 Projected '04: N/A Employees: 430

Residential and commercial cabinets and countertops

The WOOD 100 would have seemed like it was missing something if Barbosa Cabinets wasn't included--this year marks the company's seventh straight appearance. Barbosa, which ranked No. 75 last year, has 3.5 times more employees than it did in 1997 and has more than quintupled its sales since thee. Delivery time has been the key to recent success, President Ed Barbosa says. "We've strived to have more complete and on-time deliveries," Barbosa says. "We've done so with more accurate delivery check-off lists and scanned cabinets into delivery trucks to ensure everything listed has been loaded."

51 [E]

ROYAL INDUSTRIES INC. Pomona, CA

'02:$31,801,000 Sales '03: +22.7% Est. 1984 '03:$39,017,000 Projected '04: +25% Employees: 600

Cabinetry and furniture

Royal Industries may have a new name, but it still has the same success story. The former Royal Cabinets (which was the former Smith & Roan) was a WOOD 100 stronghold from 1995-2001 until falling off the list for two years--but now the company is back with sales up more than 20%. According to CFO Gus Danjoi, recent productivity increases have come from the utilization of a Biesse milling center, which lowers labor costs, and enhancements to the company's three paint lines, enabling a faster throughput. The company's endeavors include manufacturing and installing cabinets for new home developers in Southern California, manufacturing a line of cabinets for mass merchandising and manufacturing and distributing a line of furniture.

52 [D]

CUSTOM CUPBOARDS INC. Wichita, KS

'02: $16,407,000 Sales '03: +22.4% Est. 1981 '03: $20,094,000 Projected '04: +25% Employees: 219

Custom cabinetry for the home and office Most. companies wish they could have the same problem as Custom Cupboards. "The robust construction economy is fueling more business than we can do, which is an incredible position to be in," says Lance Johanson, the company's vice president of operations. "Our price-point and quality of our product has allowed us to grow as fast as we want to grow--no more than 30% [per year]." With similar projections of growth for next year, the company shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Recently added equipment includes a Venjakob finish line, an automatic 40-section glue wheel, an Opti-Match panel system from Cameron Automation, an optimizing cutoff saw, a CNC dovetail machine and more.

53 [A]

K&D WOODWORK Big Sandy, TX

'02: $661,000 Sales '03: +22.1% Est. 1995 '03: $807,000 Projected '04: +20% Employees: 18

Custom kitchen and bath cabinets

"In the world of corporate giants and self-checkouts, customer service still seems to be the biggest reason for our growth," K&D Woodwork co-owner David Burgin says. The company has made the list three years in a row, and Burgin believes more success is in the cards. There's no reason to doubt his optimism--sales have nearly doubled since the year 2000. "Modern design, quality control and competitive pricing are a major concern for customers," Burgin says. "However, if it comes down to it, between you and a close competitor, your service reputation will get it done every time."

54 [D]

ARTONE MANUFACTURING Jamestown, NY

'02: $5,945,000 Sales '03: +22% Est. 1974 '03: $7,255,000 Projected '04: +15% Employees: 70

Case goods for the hospitality, contract and store fixtures markets

Investing in several markets has spelled success for Artone Mfg. The first time WOOD 100 company has stayed ahead of the competition by offering a diverse range of products and services. Besides having standard product lines, Arlene also has the ability to do custom work. "A large portion of our business had been [in] the hospitality market," Andrew Harrington says. "When that took a huge hit, we began to see business like store fixtures and contract work really fill some holes for us that were left by the decline in that business." The purchase of a new edgebander also helped the company streamline production and reduce a bottleneck.

55 [D]

OAK CRAFT INC. Peoria, AZ

'02: $13,565,000 Sales '03: +21.99% Est. 1983 '03: $16,548,000 Projected '04: +20% Employees: 225

Semi custom cabinets for kitchens, baths, home offices and entertainment centers

After a sharp dip in sales from 2001 to 2002, Oak Craft celebrates its 21st birthday and its return to the WOOD 100 after a two year hiatus. Its 10th appearance on the list since 1990 was instigated by increased productivity, Marketing Director Gregory. Johnson says. "We have developed and maintained a lean manufacturing environment, relentlessly working to find and remove the non-value-added waste," Johnson says. "A lean culture of continuous improvement has resulted in a shorter customer lead time and a much more attractive bottom line--obviously an organization that everyone truly enjoys being part of."

56 [D]

PIN Irving, TX

'02: $12,147,000 Sales '03: +21.0% Est. 1992 '03: $14,692,000 Projected '04: +15% Employees: 100

Production millwork

In its sixth WOOD 100 appearance since 1996, PIN has expanded thanks to new product development, Sales Manager Harry Frnka says. Tim company has introduced "products to meet a new, changing customer mix," that feature innovative designs, he says. PIN's amount of employees has more than doubled since 1997 and sales numbers have nearly tripled in the same time period. The company produces millwork for the store fixture industry, franchise groups and institutional users.

57 [E]

CANYON CREEK CABINET CO. Monroe, WA

'02: $52,200,000 Sales '03: +19.7% Est. 1982 '03: $62,500,000 Projected '04: +15% Employees: 588

Residential cabinetry

Increased box production + consistent quality + timely deliveries = big sales for Canyon Creek Cabinet. Since 2000, the company has added 138 employees and increased sales 44.5%. "By dedicating financial resources toward lean manufacturing and the machinery to yield a higher production output, we've been able to increase our market share to meat customer demand and the goals of our service model," Marketing Manager Cindy Draper says. The company has successfully sped up processes with the purchase of panel processing equipment. New high-speed pre-finishing, sanding and UV finishing equipment have helped the company maintain its desired consistent quality.

58 [A]

CENTORBI CUSTOM CABINETRY INC. St. Charles, MO

'02: $658,000 Sales '03: +18.4% Est. 1995 '03: $779,000 Projected '04: +10% Employees: 11

Custom kitchen cabinetry and built-ins

Centorbi Custom Cabinetry saw immediate results after making a radical change in its production process. "We have recently switched our production to departments instead of every cabinetmaker building a project from start to finish," President Derek Centorbi says. "By switching to this production setup and adding a CNC machine, we have increased production times by nearly 25%." The business also was successful before the switch--this is its fifth time in the WOOD 100. The company, which ranked No. 24 last year, has increased sales by nearly 250% since 1999.

59 [E]

LEGACY CABINETS INC. Eastaboga, AL

'02: $51,724,000 Sales '03: +18.5% Est. 1994 '03: $61,199,000 Projected '04: +20% Employees: 447

Kitchen and bathroom cabinets

With sales more than 400% percent greater than in 1996, Legacy Cabinets marks its eighth straight inclusion in the WOOD 100. Legacy, a division of Republic Ind., provides its customers with solid customer service to keep them coming back. "We have chosen the path Of partnership with our customers," President Rodney Suggs says. "All things that this entails is our approach to our business." New equipment purchases for the company include: CNC routers, a CNC dovetail machine, Homag edge-bander and a Giardini flatline finishing system.

60 [D]

REBORN CABINETS INC. Anaheim, CA

'02: $7,664,000 Sales '03: +17.85% Est. 1983 '03: $9,052,000 Projected '04: +40% Employees: 125

Custom kitchen and bath manufacturing

After an explosive year in 2002, when sales increased 50.6%, Reborn Cabinets expected only a 5% growth in sales in 2003--and brought in 17.8%. The company offers full service remodeling direct to the home owner through its in-house design and sales staff and design center. "Moving into our new [40,000-square-foot] facility [in 2002] and implementing new procedures and sys terns has helped us to not allow our delivery times to slip too much, even though our growth has been extreme," Vice President Vince Nardo says. "We treat all employees as a member of the family and it is through this dedication that the employees recognize the benefit in giving an organization 100% every time."

61 [C]

WOOD HOLLOW CABINETS INC. Dalton, GA

'02: $3,870,000 Sales '03: +17.85% Est. 1989 '03: $4,560,000 Projected '04: +20% Employees: 72

Custom cabinetry including kitchen and bath cabinetry, entertainment centers, mantels, wall units and trim

After more than doubling sales from 2001 to 2002, Wood Hollow Cabinets continues to expand. The company works to provide customers with "a great experience," says Jennifer Harris, an administrative assistant. "We offer three full-time computer designers to help our customers add function, fashion, flair and a dramatic blend of form to any room," she says. New equipment includes an SCMI moulder, a Weinig Opticut, Carlson face frame and door clamps and a Cattinair finishing line.

62 [C]

CREATIVE LAMINATES LaCrosse, WI

'02: $2,531,000 Sales '03: +17.23% Est. 1992 '03: $2,967,000 Projected '04: 0% Employees: 20

Custom architectural laminate casework

Creative Laminates has expanded its business by offering the customer the best value, Vice President Jody Lynn says. "We work to provide design suggestions, when possible, to save our customers money while maximizing the value and utility of their projects," Lynn says. Customer service and on-flint delivery continue to be important components of the business, which manufactures custom architectural laminate casework for commercial customers throughout the Midwest.

63 [D]

CLOSET WORKS Elmhurst, IL

'02: $6,030,000 Sales '03: +17.21% Est. 1987 '03: $7,068,000 Projected '04: +14% Employees: 62

Designs and installs custom organizational systems

As Closet Works CEO Mike Carson knows, everything has its place in a well-organized closet--and everyone has their place in his company. "We've put people in positions where they can excel," Carson says. "Our people strongly support our vision and goals. We have very little turnover, so our employees have lots of experience." The company has grown steadily since its first WOOD 100 appearance in 1999. Twenty more employees work at the company today than did in 1998, when sales totaled $2,538,000.

64 [D]

PRECISION ARCHITECTURAL PRODUCTS INC. Largo, FL

'02: $11,868,000 Sales '03: +17.0% Est. 1997 '03: $13,881,000 Projected '04: +20% Employees: 100

Interior doors, custom stile-and-rail doors, custom hardwood mouldings

For the fifth consecutive year, Precision Architectural Products has nabbed a spot in the WOOD 100. Since 2000, the company has added 45 employees and increased sales by more than $3 million. The recent purchase of a fully-automated router door line from SCM gave the company a boost this year, President Michael F. Williams says. Costs for machinery and accessories related to the new line exceeded $6 million, Williams says.

65 [C]

VALLEY PLANING MILL INC. Appleton WI

'02: $3,330,000 Sales '03: +16.2% Est. 1963 '03: $3,871,000 Projected '04: +3-5% Employees: 19

Manufacturer of millwork, lumber stock and custom profiles and retailer of doors stair parts and builders' hardware

After squeaking into the WOOD 100 last year at. No. 93, Valley Planing Mill comes back this year at No. 65. The company generally uses maple, oak, birch or poplar for projects, but "the maple market has been a boom for us," Executive Vice President Cynthia Sanders says. The quality of the company's purchased lumber has increased its 3deld, Sanders says, and the addition of a Weinig Unimat 1000 moulder has helped production as well.

66 [D]

RS CABINET DOORS LTD. Saskatoon, SK

'02: $5,344,000(Can) Sales '03: +15.6% Est. 1986 '03: $6,175,000(Can) Projected '04: +8% Employees: 60

Kitchen cabinet doors, drawer fronts and crown mouldings

RS Cabinet Doors strives to form personal relationships with its customers. "We have had numerous occasions where a customer has called and said they needed their door shipped earlier than we had it scheduled to send out," Vice President Darren Hayward says. "Even though we were extremely busy at the time, our employees worked late to push the order through and get it out when the customer needed it." That persistence has led to a third consecutive appearance in the WOOD 100 for the company, which generally takes orders "one kitci2en at a time," Hayward says.

67 [E]

MASTERBRAND CABINETS INC. Jasper, IN '02: $1,300,000,000 Sales '03: +15.4% Est. 1954 '03: $1,500,000,000 Projected '04: N/A Employees: 12,000+

Kitchen bath and home cabinetry under several brand names

It is not easy to increase your total worth by a significant percentage when yearly sales are Lopping $1 billion, but MasterBrand Cabinets has managed it--and quite well, too. The company pulled in $200 million more in fiscal year 2003 than in 2002 after sales rose by the same amount from 2001 to 2002. By far the largest company in the WOOD 100, MasterBrand appears for s fourth time as a result of consistent customer service, says Neil Lynch, executive vice president of marketing and strategy planning. "MasterBrand is the leader for providing a 'one-touch' customer service approach through multi branding, consolidated pro grams, better delivery, express response and a full range of product and price points," Lynch says.

68 [A]

R&K WOODWORKING Vergennes, VT

'02: $104,000 Sales '03: +15.4% Est. 1990 '03: $120,000 Projected '04: +10% Employees: 4

Subcontract parts manufacturer for items made of wood and wood composites

You won't find doors or drawers coming off the production line at R&K Woodworking--the company has found success manufacturing products like wooden flute cases and jig sticks, an item used for ice fishing. R&K works with small shops that may be overwhelmed by a big order as well as larger companies. Owner Randall S. Ouellette says R&K picks up jobs through word of mouth. "I think the way of the woodworking field is not going to be big com panics," he says. "It's going to be a group of small woodworkers who are able to produce relatively small or large quantities of small parts or furniture and shorter lead times."

69 [B]

ELIPTICON WOOD PRODUCTS INC. Little Chute, WI

'02: $1,471,000 Sales '03: +14.8% Est. 1993 '03: $1,688,000 Projected '04: +18% Employees: 14

Custom curved millwork and custom architectural millwork and jambs

After focusing on delivery times in 2002, last year Elipticon Wood Products successfully implemented a custom computer program that has simplified its paper process and provided more clarity for customers and the shop floor, President A. John Wiley Jr. says. In its fifth consecutive appearance, the company has more than doubled sales since 1998 and expects another successful year in 2004. Wiley points to numerous factors for the company's prosperity: customer service, increased productivity, reduced delivery time, increased ability to respond to customer needs, improved operating procedures and standards, and the improvement of the company's "team concept."

70 [C]

SPACEMAKERS CLOSET INTERIORS Marietta, GA

'02: $5,848,000 Sales '03: +14.7% Est. 1987 '03: $4,413,000 Projected '04: +17% Employees: 50

Custom storage cabinetry for closets, home offices, garages and media centers

Employee skills and dedication have pushed SpaceMakers Closet Interiors into its first WOOD 100 appearance. Detailed job descriptions are written out for each position, and an employee handbook outlines company policies. "In our production shop, our employees are cross-trained; i.e., the panel saw operator can also work on the edgebander and CNC point-to-point and vice versa," President Dennis Rose says. "Thus, if someone is sick or on vacation, our production still runs strong." The company's products are manufactured out of thermofused melamine in 13 colors and stained in hardwood veneers such as cherry, mahogany, maple and walnut.

71 [B]

FISHER CABINET WORKS INC. Tyler, TX

'02: $2,018,000 Sales '03: +14.5% Est. 1992 '03: $2,310,000 Projected '04: +5-7% Employees: 35

Unfinished custom cabinetry, mostly residential

Fisher Cabinet Works has bumped up productivity by introducing an employee bonus plan based on daily production in the shop, President Peter B. Fisher Jr. says. "We track all of our jobs and have them divided into 13 sections, with the correct percentage of job total price, to arrive at a dally rate earned," he says. This information is posted daily by the time clock, and as a result, bonuses paid are up 136% in 2004 versus 2003, Fisher says. The company also has purchased new equipment, including a 42-inch widebelt orbital sander to eliminate hand sanding and cross grain scratches and a C.R. Onsrud Panel Pro 144 CNC machine for nested-based panel processing.

72 [D]

GREAT LAKE WOODS Holland, MI

'02: $13,155,000 Sales '03: +14.0% Est. 1988 '03: $14,992,000 Projected '04: +20% Employees: 135+

Manufactures rope, dentil and embossed mouldings; supplies wood mouldings; wraps profiles with paper; vinyl and veneer

A 48,000-square-foot addition completed in 2004 helped Great Lake Woods maintain its spot in the WOOD 100 after its debut last year. The company rebuilt the rough mill and introduced new crosscut technology, President Ben Phillips says. The company also has added a department for assembling products and has re-worked the entire production flow for more efficiency, Phillips says. Other factors that contributed to success include: a commitment to meeting the needs of customers, reduced lead times, innovative products and enhanced production capabilities and capacity.

73 [C]

B&L CABINET & SUPPLY INC. Longview, TX

'02: $2,200,000 Sales '03: +13.9% Est. 1965 '03: $2,506,000 Projected '04: +25% Employees: 28

Custom cabinets and raised panel doors

Leaving behind its old facility ht Gladewater, TX, B&L Cabinet & Supply has moved to a 30,000-square-foot shop with an additional 3,600 square-foot office and showroom. "We are all very pleased to be in our new location with adequate space in the new shop and show room to better serve our customers," Vice President Larry Allen says. The company fell just short of its projected sales increase of 15%, but still nabbed a spot in the WOOD 100 for the seventh time. The company believes that great customer service led to increased sales, Allen says. Customers are the company's best advertisement, he adds.

74 [D]

CASEWORX INC. Redlands, CA

'02: $6,855,000 Sales '03: +13.8% Est. 1992 '03: $7,800,000 Projected '04: +15% Employees: 95

Commercial and institutional casework, laminate and pre-finished wood products

A new order tracking system and scheduling tool implemented by Caseworx has improved both customer satisfaction and on-time delivery, President Bruce Humphrey says. The order tracking system keeps customers informed of the status of their orders by indicating any lacking in Formation and its affect on the delivery date. The scheduling tool has increased the company's on-time average to more than 90%. "Since so much of our work is for schools and many are trying to open in September, our on-time delivery average last. summer was very poor," Humphrey says. "The average was around 50%." Changes in management practices also boosted the complete order average from 50% last year to its current level of 97%.

75 [D]

OVATION CABINETRY INC. Salina, KS

'02: $6,184,000 Sales '03: +15.7% Est. 1995 '03: $7,030,000 Projected '04: +15% Employees: 44

Custom kitchen, bath and home cabinetry

After a one-year hiatus, Ovation is back in the WOOD 100 for the fifth year. With almost 30 more employees now than in 1999, the company focuses on quality control, CEO Joseph Lorentz says. Ovation uses a team training method to tighten quality control and provide better employee training. The team training concept includes: formalized quality feedback to employees, stressing formal and written feedback to eliminate future occurrences of an identified problem; ISO-based corrective action; and the implementation of a lean manufacturing methodology. "[The company] also added new software and made changes in customer service policies to provide inure flexibility," Lorentz says.

76 [A]

WESTOVERS WOODWORKS INC. Scottsdale, AZ

'02: $287,000 Sales '05: +12.9% Est. 1982 '03: $524,000 Projected '04: +15% Employees: 5

Custom furniture and cabinetry, built-in wall units, custom home and office furniture

Employees at Westovers Woodworks don't work a typical day. "What I've done is create an atmosphere for the staff where they all are on the honor system," President Harry Westover says. "There is no thee clock. All of us have families and kids as well as other projects and interests, so the guys are expected to complete their projects in a timely order, but 8 to 5 never happens." The system has worked well for the company, which is ill the WOOD 100 for the first time. Benchmen for the company pick up Westover's personal techniques and apply them to their oval projects.

77 [E]

PANEL PROCESSING INC. Alpena, MI

'02: $42,564,000 Sales '03: +12.7% Est. 1971 '03: $47,982,000 Projected '04: +25% Employees: 275

Custom fabricated and finished flat panel components

With the acquisition of Alabama Inter-Forest in May 2004, Panel Processing added new capabilities and expanded its market reach into new products and areas. The company attributes its prosperity in 2003 to increased productivity. "Adding additional production capability and manufacturing space has allowed Panel Processing to expand our capabilities and offer our customers more processes, products and value-added services," says John Empfield, director of marketing. "A new packaging, assembly, warehousing and drop-shipping facility has allowed us to further service customers who want more than just, fabricated and finished parts."

78 [D]

WIND MILL WOODWORKING INC. Sheboygan Falls, WI

'02: $8,877,000 Sales '03: +12.2% Est. 1980 '03: $9,964,000 Projected '04: +2% Employees: 56

Slatwall panel and component parts

Wind Mill Woodworking says its formula for success is "good technology and great people." The 24-year-old company has used that recipe to make its way into the WOOD 100 for the eighth time since 1990. Sales are up $1.6 million from 2001, and CEO Jay Hogfeldt says it is due in part to a strong marketing program. An equipment upgrade also has benefited the company. "In order to be 'the service-driven leader' providing slatwall products, Wind Mill Woodworking upgraded to the latest version of business software and upgraded all computers to the latest technology," Hogfeldt says.

79 [B]

BRUNSWICK WOODWORKING CO. INC. Rockville, MD

'02: $2,019,000 Sales '03: +12.09% Est. 1980 '03: $2,265,000 Projected '04: +20% Employees: 25+

Commercial architectural millwork

"Take care of your customers and the money will take care of itself." So goes the credo of Steve Harris, owner of first-time WOOD 100 company Brunswick Woodworking. The company, which does very little advertising, relies on word of mouth for continued business. "We cannot count bow many times a contractor, architect or business owner has asked someone, 'Who did that work?' and our name is immediately mentioned," Project Manager Dong Novic says. Brunswick Woodworking is "triple-blessed," he says, with management that values employees, shop employees proud of the company's reputation and installers that will do whatever it takes to satisfy the customer.

80 [B]

CEDAR CREEK HARDWOODS INC. Fredericktown, MO

'02: $1,490,000 Sales '03: +12.08% Est. 1985 '03: $1,670,000 Projected '04: +5-10% Employees: 18

Retail and wholesale hardwood lumber, mouldings, flooring, stair parts, jewelry boxes and laser engraving

As Cedar Creek Hardwoods approaches its 20th year in business, employee dedication keeps the company going strong. The business has relatively little employee turnover, says John W. Thompson, owner and CEO. "We offer our employees substantial payment toward their medical insurance premiums, a profit-sharing plan and a retirement plan in the form of a voluntary participation in a simple IRA with the company matching all or a portion of their investment," Thompson says. New hires receive extensive training, which may take anywhere from a few weeks to a year, depending on the process, machinery and degree of difficulty, Thompson adds.

81 [E]

LEXINGTON MFG. INC. Minneapolis, MN

'02: $28,129,000 Sales '03: +11.7% Est. 1958 '03: $31,434,000 Projected '04: +17% Employees: 225

OEM supplier specializing in the production of tight tolerance components made of solid wood, composite wood, etc.

Lexington Mfg. celebrates continued success with its 12th WOOD 100 appearance. "Productivity improvements have been achieved as a result of improved training programs for employees, improved quality control programs and the implementation of 'lean' initiatives," says W.B. DeWitt, the company's sales and marketing manager. "Also, we have been proactive in partnering with customers to remove waste and to identify opportunities where we could provide greater value." Products from the company include: architectural flush door components, steel entry door components, window components, patio doors, stile-and-rail door and cabinetry components.

82 [A]

KABINET KRAFT Olney, IL

'02: $723,000 Sales '03: +11.6% Est. 1999 '03: $807,000 Projected '04: +5% Employees: 15

Kitchen and bath cabinets, interior doors and trim, stair parts, and solid surface countertops

Owner Bob Buscher says Kabinet Kraft has "carved our own little niche in rural America." The company has a "unique" marketing program, he says. Kabinet Kraft has no Web site, no direct mail and no printed advertising. "We are a small town cabinet manufacturer that went back to the handshake deals," Buscher says. "Our relationship with our customers is based on trust." Although the company fell short of its projected sales increase of 14%, it still landed a spot in the WOOD 100 far the second time.

83 [E]

NORTHERN CONTOURS Fergus Falls, MN

'02: $38,630,000 Sales '03: +10.79% Est. 1992 '03: $42,800,000 Projected '04: +12-15% Employees: 425

Membrane-pressed rigid thermofoil cabinet doors, drawer fronts, accessories, membrane pressed components and veneer panels, five piece RTF doors Tiffs marks the ninth WOOD 100 appearance for Northern Contours, and the company has expanded considerably since 1997, the year of its third appearance on the list. Sales and employee numbers both have more than doubled since then, and the company expects to grow more in 2004. President Michael Rone says Northern Contours has "always been a service-oriented company." He attributes the business' consistent success to a variety of factors, including: quality products, great service, responding to the needs of customers and exploring new markets with them.

84 [D]

SHEOGA HARDWOOD FLOORING AN D PANELING INC. Middlefield, OH

'02: $5,576,000 Sales '03: +10.78% Est. 1982 '03: $6,177,000 Projected '04: N/A Employees: 50

Prefinished and unfinished hardwood for flooring, paneling and ceilings

Like many other WOOD 100 companies, the employees at Sheoga Hardwood keep their company one step ahead of the competition. "Our prefinished hardwood flooring and wood paneling is made by Sheoga's team of dedicated craftsmen that adhere to rigid milling procedures to ensure precision and unequaled workmanship in our hardwood floors," Marketing Manager Vlad Nikitin says. "Many of these individuals have been with us since 1982 and are united to producing consistent quality." Equipment also has boosted the business, including a computerized optimizing rip mill, Hasko end-matchers, Mattison moulders, a Costa sander mid diamond tooling in moulders.

85 [C]

TIMBER CASEWORK MFG. CO. INC. Corpus Christi, TX

'02: $2,888,000 Sales '03: +10.2% Est. 1995 '03: $3,182,000 Projected '04: +15% Employees: 35

Commercial casework and millwork

The bidding department of first-time WOOD 100 company Timber Casework continually produces more and more bids, President Lindsey Eubank says. "We have been able to increase bidding by putting our office on a network and changing our IP," Eubank says. "We are able to download plans a lot faster, mid also everyone involved can see bid sheets and specs from their own office, thus cutting down on time spent meeting and printing." Eubank expects the company to bring in even more sales next, year.

86 [B]

ANDERSON CABINET & MILLWORK Rigby, ID

'02: $1,755,000 Sales '03: +9.5% Est. 1975 '03: $1,922,000 Projected '04: +6% Employees: 24

Commercial cabinets and mouldings

Ask Anderson Cabinet General Manager Jerry Welker about the commitment of his employees, and he will tell a story about a four-day job that needed to be completed in two. "It was being shipped to Cranberry Township, PA, from Idaho Falls, ID," he says. "All of the employees picked up their pace, worked through lunches and breaks, stayed late, and several came in on Friday to load the truck and to help finish the cabinet and trim." The job was sent out on time, and Anderson Cabinet had another happy customer. Welker says the owner is very good about compensating employees for their work, and all employees can participate in a bonus program based on quantity produced. "Happy employees are productive employees," Welker says.

87 [A]

TANSU WOODWORKS INC. Tampa, FL

'02: $267,000 Sales '03: +8.6% Est. 1991 '03: $290,000 Projected '04: +20% Employees: 6

Office furniture, entertainment centers, free-standing furniture and home libraries and dens with a strong Asian influence

At least 70% of the work done by Tansu Woodworks is Commissioned by repeat customers--and judging by the company's business, those customers are happy with the results. President Cliff Wieser says employees do not hesitate to work as a team to finish projects on time and will correct their own mistakes before it is too late. "By coaching new employees and teaching them carefully, very few items considered defects or mistakes are ever seen by the customer," Wieser says. "Many times an item--mismatching grain or color tone, surface defects, finish defects--is seen and corrected or culled out and replaced before I ever have to say anything."

88 [D]

COMMERCIAL CASEWORK Orange Park, FL

'02: $6,861,000 Sales '03: +8.3% Est. 1993 '03: $7,432,000 Projected '04: +15% Employees: 62

Laminate casework for educational and health care markets

Commercial Casework recently upgraded its edgebander and point-to-point machining center, subsequently increasing productivity in terms of both capacity and efficiency. The company now produces 180 cabinets per day, up from 135, and each cabinet requires 2.18 man-hours of production, down from 2.45 hours. "By increasing and refining our manufacturing capabilities, we were able to expand marketing and sales programs into other southeastern states," CFO Norman Kaweck says. This year marks the company's fourth appearance in the WOOD 100. Although the company tell short of its projected sales increase of 20% for 2003, Kaweck predicts a jump in sales for 2004.

89 [E]

WOODHARBOR DOORS AND CABINETRY INC. Mason City, IA

'02: $35,081,000 Sales '03: +8.0% Est 1993 '03: $37,875,000 Projected '04: +25% Employees: 450

Interior stile-and-rail passage doors and kitchen and bath cabinetry

Woodharbor Doors and Cabinetry's third consecutive year in the WOOD 100 finds the company with 50 more employees than in 2003. New equipment and new product lines have boosted the company's productivity. "On the interior door side of our operation, the uniqueness of the machinery additions is that these machines, for the most part, are positioned in line so that the product moves along automatically with minimal handling by any person," President Chris Lewerke says. "This helps us increase volume and minimize costs." The cabinetry division received a flatline finishing system and machining equipment for box component processing, allowing the addition of new product lines that focus on lower price positions, he adds.

90 [C]

WOODEN MALLET Aberdeen, SD

'02: $3,953,000 Sales '03: +7.2% Est. 1975 '03: $4,238,000 Projected '04: 0% Employees: 30

Literature and magazines displays, coat and hat racks, hangers and folding luggage racks

Wooden Mallet keeps up its winning ways with its 12th consecutive WOOD 100 appearance. Since 1996, the company's annual sales have increased by more than $3.2 million. Wooden Mallet's recent success is a result of boosted productivity, President Jim Kreber says. "Increased productivity helps to keep product prices low in an effort to deter foreign competition," Kreber says. "I feel it also leads to better working conditions for everyone." A new corrugated box making machine helped the company redesign its entire assembly department and storage facilities, he says. The company also recently purchased a DMC three head widebelt sander.

91 [B]

WINERACKS.COM High Falls, NY

'02: $1,366,000 Sales '03: +6.6% Est. 1994 '03: $1,456,000 Projected '04: +12% Employees: 35

Wine cellars for homes, retail stores and restaurants

While some WOOD 100 companies have nixed the idea of a Web site altogether, WineRacks.com makes most of its sales through its site. "We have been on the Internet since 1994, right when the Internet was getting started. Therefore, our Web site is very heavily trafficked and ranks among the top in most search engines in our category," President Michael Babcock says. The company also started to build up a dealer network last year. "We currently have 24 dealers and are looking to expand that to 65 or more this year, with a goal of having 300 on board by 2006," Babcock says.

92 [D]

BIRD IN HAND WOODWORKS INC. Lancaster, PA

'02: $19,002,000 Sales '03: +6.3% Est. 1972 '03: $20,197,000 Projected '04: 0% Employees: 155

Furniture and equipment for easy education, largely in public schools

The acquisition of a competitor contributed to a strong year for Bird in Hand Woodworks. The company took over Atlanta, GA-based ABC School Supply, which also owned a manufacturing plant in Alabama called Three Dimension Woodcraft. "[The acquisition] added about 185 new products," says David B. Hommel, vice president of manufacturing. "[ABC School Supply was] very strong in the day care industry and Headstart, which complements our public school business very nicely." Bird in Hand sold off most of the assets in Alabama "since our plant here had more than enough capacity to absorb their production," Hommel adds.

93 [C]

CLOSET FACTORY Waldorf, MD

'02: $2,844,000 Sales "03: +5.9% Est. 1996 '03: $3,013,000 Projected '04: +16% Employees: 33

Custom closet organizing cabinets, entertainment centers, pantry and garage storage cabinets

Although the Washington, DC, franchise of the Closet Factory fell short of its predicted 19% increase in sales, the company still had a successful year due to investments in employee training. "We have increased our compensation package for our employees and enhanced our supervisory staff to provide more timely instruction and follow up for our installers and shop personnel," President Jan Stotlemyer says. The company also started to carry custom finished closet rods and has switched to using Accuride frill-extension drawer slides exclusively. "With the increase of our machinery base and training, our people can work more efficiently with higher outputs for the same amount of labor," Stotlemyer adds. This year the company is doubling its office space and adding an other 5,000 square feet to its factory space.

94 [E]

DURA SUPREME Howard Lake, MN

'02: $43,000,000 Sales '03: +5.8% Est. 1963 '03: $45,500,000 Projected '04: +25% Employees: 480

Custom and semi custom kitchen, bath and entertainment center cabinetry

This second-generation, privately-owned cabinetry company has found success through a variety of factors. "Dura Supreme has used a combination of both new product introductions and marketing programs to enhance our customers' competitive edge in the marketplace while improving the process of interacting with the factory," President Keith Stotts says. And with an expected sales increase of 25% for 2004, Dura Supreme hopes to keep the good times rolling. The company's designs are offered in a variety of finishes, and available woodgrains include northern red oak, hard maple, cherry, northern knotty white pine, knotty alder and hickory.

95 [D]

EASTLAND INDUSTRIES LTD. Minto, NB

'02: $7,869,000(Can) Sales '03: +4.9% Est. 1969 '03: $8,255,000(Can) Projected '04: +5% Employees: 68

Kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities and postformed countertops

Eastland Industries' sales have increased by more than 75% since 1996, and this year marks the company's seventh appearance in the WOOD 100 since 1995. New integrated software improved operations in 2003, says Eric DiCarlo, the company's vice president and general manager. In addition, "we have put in place overtime work in bottleneck areas to increase productivity," DiCarlo adds.

96 [C] MIDSTATE CUSTOM CABINETRY & WOODWORKS INC. Foley, MN

'02: $2,686,000 Sales '03: +4.4% Est 1986 '03: $2,803,000 Projected '04: +3% Employees: 24

Residential cabinetry, commercial casework and prefinishing

The dedication and skills of employees at Midstate Custom Cabinetry & Woodworks are both vital components of the business. "[Our company] continues to grow due to the continued dedication and the increased knowledge of our employees," says Randy DesMarais, president and CEO. "Our employees have built a superb reputation with their craftsmanship and their customer service." The company saw a much larger increase in sales from 2001 to 2002--the number was close to 50%--but DesMarais expects that last year's smaller growth will be replicated in 2004.

97 [C]

DEL-WOOD KITCHENS INC. Hanover, PA

'02: $3,012,000 Sales '03: +4.0% Est. 1962 '03: $3,132,000 Projected '04: +3-5% Employees: 46

Semi-custom kitchen and bath cabinetry

Del-Wood Kitchens President Thomas C. Hasenstab attributes his company's second appearance hi the WOOD 100 to a strong marketing program. "We have had a 25% increase in the number of dealers in our dealer network," Hasenstab says. "Also, our existing dealers are buying more." A new Timesavers profile sander also has given the company an extra push, which Hasenstab expects to extend into 2004.

98 [A]

ALMEGA WOOD WORKS CORP. Hudson, MI

'02: $413,000 Sales '03: +5.6% Est. 1995 '03: $428,000 Projected '04: +10% Employees: 8

Custom wood cabinetry for residential and commercial applications

Almega Wood Works knows that other businesses can produce similar products--it is the customer service that sets this company apart, President Scott Mesnard says. "We do whatever is necessary to make sure our customers' needs are met and we have the capability to produce a broad range of products," Mesnard says. "If we do have a failure, we resolve it immediately." This year is the third WOOD 100 appearance in a row for the company, whose sales are up almost 65% since 2000. Products from Almega Wood Works include: vanities, home and professional offices, kitchens, closets, store fixtures, library shelving and cabinetry, and entertainment centers.

99 [E]

CONESTOGA WOOD SPECIALTIES CORP. East Earl, PA

"02: $160,000,000 Sales '03: +5.1% Est 1964 '03: $165,000,000 Projected '04: +10% Employees: 2,000+

Wood components for the custom and semi-custom kitchen markets

Employees at Conestoga Wood Specialties have more than one reason to celebrate this year--not only is it the company's first inclusion in the WOOD 100, but it is also Conestoga's 50th anniversary. The company raked in $5 million more in sales in 2003 selling products such as live-piece doors, drawer fronts, mouldings, drawer boxes and other cabinet components. "While our success can be attributed to a variety of factors, the ability to maintain a consistent on4ime shipping performance has fueled our growth," says Jeff Eichenseer, director of marketing in the custom division. The company also benefited from the purchase of equipment, including spray booths and other finishing equipment, sanders, shapers and CNC routers.

100 [E]

APPALACHIAN WOOD PRODUCTS INC. Clearfield, PA

"02: $69,394,000 Sales '03: +1.6% Est 1987 '03: $70,535,000 Projected '04: +3% Employees: 459

Hardwood kitchen cabinet doors, drawer fronts and glued dimension products, door and cabinet flaming

Appalachian Wood Products' definition of customer service has made it a WOOD 100 company for the 11th time--its seventh consecutive appearance. "Customer service not only entails good rapport with the customer, it also includes delivering a quality product when, where and how the customer wants it," says Dennis McCahan, president and CEO. With nearly 150 more employees since 1997 and sales up 160% since then, the motto has worked well for the company. In recent years, the shop has added a gang ripsaw system, four SCM Topset 23XL moulders, four SCM Concept 2000 double-end tenoners and a Rosenquist SB-1050 gluing machine.

[A] Under $1 million

[B] $1 million-$2.5 million

[C] $2.5 million -$5 million

[D] $5 million-$25 million

[E] over $25 million
HIGHEST PROJECTED SALES INCREASES FOR 2004

Lopresti Millworks (No. 29) 300%
Drawer Box Associates (No. 4) 265%
Hanley Desirin (No. 11) 80%
Westwind Wood Specialties (No. 9) 75%
Advanced Woodwork (No. 7) 60%
Old World Kitchens (No. 10) 50%
Riverwoods Mill (No. 43) 50%
WW Wood Products (No. 48) 45%
North Forty Fine Furniture (No. 1) 40%
Sunwood Doors (No. 21) 40%
Old World Butcher Block Furniture (No. 24) 40%

Other Views of the WOOD 100

There is more than one way to compare the achievements of the WOOD 100
companies. These charts rank the top companies by sales volume range,
dollar growth and sales per employee.

TOP GROWTH COMPANIES
(based on 2003 sales)

UNDER $1 MILLION

North Forty Fine Furniture (No. 1) 93.7%
Drawer Box Associates (No. 4) 85.2%
Cabinet King (No. 5) 81.5%
Dooley's Millwork (No. 6) 78.1%
Advanced Woodwork (No. 7) 74.1%
Westwind Wood Specialties (No. 9) 66.0%
Hanley Design (No. 11) 60.9%
R&B Craftsmen (No. 13) 57.4%

$1 MILLION TO $2.5 MILLION

D.R. Nickelson & Co. (No. 2) 93.2%
Action Wood Technologies (No. 3) 89.4%
Closet Master (No. 12) 58.4%
Harbor Wood (No. 14) 52.0%
Beyer Custom Cabinets (No. 16) 48.7%
Holmes-Hally Ind. (No. 18) 47.3%
Sunwood Doors (No. 21) 45.86%
Dovetail Designs & Millwork (No. 35) 33.0%

$2.5 MILLION TO $5 MILLION

Old World Kitchens (No. 10) 62.9%
Knight Ind. (No. 31) 34.8%
St. Louis Closet (No. 37) 32.4%
Artistic Stairbuilders (No. 39) 31.8%
Creative Mouldings & Millwork
 (No. 41) 31.1%
European Design (No. 44) 26.9%
Wood Hollow Cabinets (No. 61) 17.8%
Creative Laminates (No. 62) 17.2%

$5 MILLION TO $25 MILLION

Premier EuroCase (No. 8) 71.2%
Burrows Mfg. (No. 15) 49.3%
Hollywood Woodwork (No. 17) 48.0%
Rieke Office Interiors (No. 22) 44.0%
Contour Laminates & Stoneworks
 (No. 23) 43.5%
Madsen Fixture & Millwork (No. 26) 42.8%
Builders Cabinets Supply (No. 32) 34.3%
Mission Bell Mfg. (No. 36) 32.7%

OVER $25 MILLION

Showplace Wood Products (No. 19) 45.93%
Fleetwood Fixtures (No. 20) 45.9%
Huntwood Ind. (No. 30) 35.2%
TJ Hale (No. 33) 33.9%
Wellborn Forest Products (No. 46) 25.3%
Superior Cabinets (No. 47) 25.1%
WW Wood Products (No. 48) 24.1%
Barbosa Cabinets (No. 50) 23.5%

What are your
sales growth
projections for 2004?

Percentage Respondents

None 8
1-10% 24
11-20% 33
21-30% 15
31-40% 7
Over 40% 8
No Response 5

TOP 10 DOLLAR GAINERS
2002 TO 2003

MasterBrand Cabinets (No. 67) $200,000,000
Huntwood Ind. (No. 30) $14,051,000
Fleetwood Fixtures (No. 20) $11,266,000
Canyon Creek Cabinet (No. 57) $10,300,000
TJ Hale (No. 33) $10,156,000
Legacy Cabinets (No. 59) $9,475,000
Showplace Wood Products (No. 19) $9,460,000
Barbosa Cabinets (No. 50) $8,752,000
Hollywood Woodwork (No. 17) $7,884,000
Royal Ind. (No. 51) $7,216,000

PRODUCTIVITY MASTERS
(Most sales per employee)

Premier EuroCase (No. 8) $369,194
TJ Hale (No. 33) $267,640
Creative Mouldings & Millwork (No. 41) $267,000
Fleetwood Fixtures (No. 20) $238,747
Valley Planning Mill (No. 65) $203,737
Whip's Carpentry (No. 40) $200,263
Wind Mill Woodworking (No. 78) $177,929
R&B Craftsmen (No. 13) $177,500
Panel Processing (No. 77) $174,480
Appalachian Wood Products (No. 100) $160,672

TOP CONCERNS First Second Third Total

Economy 29 14 14 57
Emp. Recruitment/Retention 17 19 11 47
Profit Margins 12 10 10 32
Price Cutting 13 7 8 28
Health Benefit Costs 4 14 7 25
Wood/Composite Costs 6 9 9 24
Employee Skills 5 9 6 20
Workman's Comp Costs 5 5 7 17
Wood Quality/Availability 3 6 8 17
Other 2 3 7 12
Imports 1 1 7 9
Design Copying 1 1 3 7
Finishing VOCs 2 2 1 5

Other includes marketing, union costs, facility size limitations, and
growth capitalization.

The WOOD 100 Optimist's Club

What are your sales
expectations for 2005?

Good 45%
OK 7%
Excellent 47%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Which factor contributed most to your
company's success since Jan. 1, 2001?

Increased 22%
Productivity

Skilled 21%
Employees

Other 15%

New Product 7%
Development

Marketing 7%

Customer 28%
Service

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Compared to three years ago, what are
your company's profit margins?

Same 28%

Lower 14%

Much Higher 14%

Much Lower 1%

Higher 41%

Note: Table made from pie chart.
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Article Details
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Author:Christianson, Rich
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2004
Words:15913
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