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WCC grows in niches.

WCC GROWS IN NICHES

The purchase of a CNC panel saw helped spawn a company within a company.

Wood Cabinet Components was not born yesterday. But the fact that the Eugene-Ore.-based company was only officially christened in 1988 partly explains its rise to the top of this year's WOOD 100. Yet, any way you slice it, recording 273 percent sales growth between 1989 and 1990 is, to put it mildly, and outstanding achievement.

WCC was established as a free-standing division of States Industries Inc., Eugene, Ore., to manufacture value-added, custom components from the parent company's sheet goods, said Bill Powell, marketing manager. "Perhaps the most important advantage Wood Cabinet Components enjoys is the ability to select from the more than 2,000 different panel products manufactured by States Industries," Powell added.

According to Joe Ferarra, sales manager, WCC's inception can be traced to States Industries' purchase of a Holzma EL 130 Duolift CNC panel saw. "In 1986 we were approached by a company that had access to selling backing panels for computer circuit boards. They required very precise cutting tolerances, which led us to spend $175,000 on the Holzma saw to do the job," Ferarra said. "Once we had the saw, we had to find other uses to keep it busy. I was given the task of starting a new profit-making division."

Carving new niches

WCC's next foray was into the home center market with its Project Hardwood program consisting of cut-to-size panels for the do-it-yourself crowd. Ferarra said 15 major home centers and some smaller independents are involved in the program.

The bigger and newer part of WCC's business, however, is manufacturing custom drawers sold through its national network of wholesale distributors. "We saw a need for nice quality custom drawers for office furniture, desks, file cabinets and home office furniture," Ferarra said.

The drawers are mainly made using seven- or nine-ply maple or oak substrates purchased from the parent company. "We produce a ready-to-assemble dovetailed drawer as specified by the customer. That means that the two sides, front and back, are completely finished and edgebanded. All the customer has to do is glue the dovetails and slide the bottom in. They put on their own decorative front and hardware; we drill the holes for the hardware.

"We don't produce a standard drawer because our experience is that no two customers are alike. One guy wants a 4-inch drawer, another wants 4 1/8, another wants 4 1/4, and so on."

Added Powell, "The final product is light, strong, competitively priced and very attractive. WCC runs three shifts, permitting rapid turnaround of orders, and States' reputation for on-time delivery helps."

In addition to the panel saw, processing equipment used by WCC includes a Holz-Her Accord 1443 edgebander, two Alexander Dodds dovetailers, and edge finishing equipment made by in-house engineers.

WCC also lays up and edgebands architectural panels. Recent projects include supplying all of the major woodwork for the newly constructed Len Casanova Athletic Center at the University of Oregon and high-grade AA cherry veneer planking for the restoration of the historical court house in Essex County, Mass.

Ferarra added that the company exports to Canada and has sold products to Switzerland and the Netherlands. "We hope to expand our export market as we learn more about exporting," he said, adding, "An expansion of our plant and product lines is definitely being formulated."

PHOTO : A new line of ready-to-assemble, custom, dovetailed drawers was a strong factor in WCC's tremendous growth last year.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Vance Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:The Wood 100; Wood Cabinet Components
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Article Type:Cover Story
Date:Dec 1, 1991
Words:585
Previous Article:Southwood checks into high-end hotel/contract industry.
Next Article:Expansion key to Greenfield Millwork's growth.
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