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Russian immigrant blends old and new in USA.

RUSSIAN IMMIGRANT BLENDS OLD AND NEW IN USA

Stephan Schwartz left Russia in 1976 to find religious, political and professional freedom. He has not been disappointed. "The United States is beautiful - the best country in the world. Anything you call business in the United States was illegal in Russia," he says.

Schwartz has been involved in woodworking since age 13 - more than 30 years. His assets include a solid background as a college-educated engineer in wood technology from his homeland. "Basically the technology is the same in woodworking, although here we are about 100 years ahead of the woodworkers at home," he says.

His business, I & S Custom Cabinets, was founded in January 1978 in Chatsworth, Calif., near Los Angeles and the homes of many wealthy and famous people who have become clients.

Schwartz and his wife, Natalie, own the business which specializes in high-end custom cabinetry and architectural woodworking. Schwartz personally designs to suit his customers' tastes, and Natalie runs the sales and marketing departments.

Twenty to 25 employees work for I & S, which recently expanded to include a new division, Dynamic Door Designs, selling cabinet doors, doors and windows. Typical materials used include white oak, red oak, maple, rock maple and poplar, as well as an extensive list of exotic woods. He sells to builders to residential homes and homeowners doing rehabs. His newest venture of solid wood cabinet doors and doors and windows reflects his philosophy of branching out into new markets even in the recession.

Schwartz is also a dynamic salesman for his creations. "I sell quality and an extremely well-made product. I have |inherited' some business that was poorly done in the first place and salvaged the job," Schwartz says. His 12,000-square-foot shop reflects Schwartz's devotion to doing the job well.

Business growing strong

Schwartz says he typically has five to 10 different projects running at one time and he recently purchased some versatile SCMI equipment to keep up with demands. Among the machinery is an SCMI gang ripsaw. "It has been a perfect addition to our line. I used to have a straightline joiner planer but this machine has eliminated a lot of wasted time. What used to take two days is accomplished in one hour with this machine," Schwartz says.

Other machines making a difference at I & S include:

* an overhead router from SCMI, which Schwartz calls "perfect for any cut" from arched windows to raised panel doors.

* an SCMI sliding table saw, which he says is the "precision workhorse in my shop."

* an SCMI 24-inch planer

* an SCMI BL-4 edgebander.

"My business is high-end and I use fine hardwoods, fine workmanship and fine machinery. Every cabinet is individually designed with no repeats. I get frustrated when competitors who are undermanned and underequipped underbid a job. They won't be able to do the job they promise and they take a job off the market."

PHOTO : Although I&S Custom Cabinets specializes in high-end custom cabinetry and architectural woodwork, it recently started a new door and window division to reach new markets.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Vance Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Stephan Schwartz, owner of I and S Custom Cabinets
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Article Type:company profile
Date:Aug 1, 1991
Words:509
Previous Article:This architectural woodwork firm loves a challenge.
Next Article:Stolo Cabinets - second generation cabinetmakers.
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