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Unlocking the Secrets of Success.

THIS MONTH'S issue is dedicated to readers who yearn for a return of the good old days, when business was rolling and prospects shone bright -- like last year.

Wood & Wood Products 12th Annual WOOD 100 Report, which chronicles the successes of 100 fast-growing woodworking firms, provides a welcome whiff of nostalgia for those who have grown weary of a steady diet of negative economic news and the unfilled promises of a quick turnaround.

While the rankings of the WOOD 100 companies are based on percentile sales growth between 1999 and 2000, most of them are having an enviable 2001 as well. Indeed, at a time when any black number would look good on the bottom line, executives of 57 of this year's WOOD 100 firms project double-digit sales growth in 2001. Another 20 WOOD 100 execs say they expect their company's sales to grow between 5 and 9 percent, (Ten WOOD 100 executives did not supply a 2001 projection.)

{A}t a time when any black number would look good on the bottom tine, executives of 57 of this year's WOOD 100 companies project double-digit sales increases in 2001.

I contacted representatives for two companies -- Barbosa Cabinets and PIN Inc. -- which have posted phenomenal growth since their first appearance in the WOOD 100. Each company projects their sales to grow by 25% this year. What have they done to buck the economic trend? Read on to find out.

Right Place, Right Time

Barbosa Cabinets Inc. (No. 19) of Tracy, CA, has seen its fortunes rise along with the explosive growth of Silicon Valley's housing market. The company's sales hit $30 million in 2000 and are on pace to put it within an earshot of $40 million this year.

Ed Barbosa, who along with his brother Ron owns the 23-year-old company, says, "We're in the right area, an hour east of Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Even though new home sales have slowed down to a trickle, we still have our fingers in a lot of projects and there looks to be plenty of jobs on the horizon."

While Barbosa Cabinets has been lucky it has also been good. The company has made the most of its breaks. This includes constructing a 90,000-square-foot facility 2 1/2 years ago and investing in computerized equipment. "We're reaping the harvest of our major investment," Barbosa says. "We have worked out all the bugs and have things running pretty smoothiy." He adds that his company is seldom the low bidder on projects and frequently "takes over" work awarded to competing firms that are unable to meet deadlines, deliver the necessary quality or both.

Making Over a Business

PIN Inc. (No. 23) is becoming more of a name and less of an acronym for Professional Installation Network as the Irving, TX-based company becomes ever more removed from its roots.

While the company was founded in 1992 as an installation contractor for store fixture companies, Harry Frnka, sales manager, notes that it does little of that type of work for others or itself anymore.

Over the last few years PIN has shifted to manufacturing fixtures. Currently two large clients, one involved in postal centers and the other in furniture and electronics rental, account for 60% of the company's business. Those two accounts have been the main driving force of PIN's rapid growth from $6.7 million in 1998 to $15.1 million last year. This year, the company projects to reach about $19.6 million.

"We're not experiencing quite the rate of growth that we have had in the last couple of years, but things are pretty good all things considered," Frnka says.

Not content to rest on its laurels, Frnka says PIN has purchased an adjacent building to greatly expand packaging and shipping capabilities. In addition, PIN has added two full-time salespeople to beat the bushes for new clients.

"We don't worry too much about having all of our eggs in one basket, but we do realize that we need to keep building up our client base," Frnka says.

RICH CHRISTIANSON
COPYRIGHT 2001 Vance Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Sep 1, 2001
Words:677
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