A Growing Business
The journey from the 400-square-foot garage that Meadows and his wife Nanette Maglicco, soundproffed and air-conditioned, to the high-tech facility with 10 employees has been and eventful time. For the manufacturer of commercial laminated cabinetry and store fixtures for retail outlets, the road to success has involved persistence, a belief in technology, a bit of luck and tons of hard work – a true American success story.
“I’ve been in construction for 21 years,” says Meadows. “I started out as a framer, building houses. I had a partner who did trim work and countertops, so we did that on the side.” In the early ’90s, Maglicco also began working with Meadows trimming houses. “All thse new houses had that crazy niche next to the fireplace where you can’t get a piece of furniture to fit. These homeowners were asking us to uild custom pieces for them. It wasn’t a lot of money, but it filled the free time,” he says.
In 2000, the company received its first commericial cabinet commission, but it was not until 2004 that Meados and Mgliccco reached the turning point. The volume of cabinet business led them to move out of their garage shop, where they were getting “banged and bruised head to toe” from having to move all material and equipment around at least twice daily just to get jobs done.
But along with the new overhead for their facility, an emplyee on payroll and investments in automations, they suddently found themselves facing an uncertain future. The customer which had provied the majorit of work in 2003 suddenly “took a nosedive,” leaving Meadows and Maglicco unprepared. “We had our eggs all in one basket,” he says. Salvation came from an unexpected source – a woodworking trade show. “In the summer of 2004, we went to the International Woodworking Fair [in Atlanta],” Meadows says. “Nanette said, ‘We have $10 in our business bank account, so let’s go to Atlanta and just have some fun:” Instead of just “fun,” the trip to IWF proved fruitful. “We met people,”Meadows says. “Not so much customers, but suppliers who were suppliers of local people. We were at the right place at the right time and talked to the right people. Our phone started ringing before we even got back to Dallas. We got on a roll in late ’04 and 2005 was nonstop. We’ve doubled every year since.” Meadows credits the company’s investment in new technology for much of its sales growth.”We’re always standing on our soapbox talking about automation,” Meadows says. “If you don’t use automation, you just have to keep throwing bodies at it.” The majority of each year’s profit is reinvested back into the company through new equipment purchases. “We always try to stay about a year ahead of where we need to be. We start researching machinery and try to figure out what it is we want. So, when the [new] job does come, or when we’re starting to get contracts together for something like that, we can pull the trigger and call [the machinery manufacturer], and say ‘ship that machine: We don’t have to go look at it, we’ve already seen it. We already know that’s what we want.” Among the equipment in the plant is a recently added Comil case clamp, an Akron 855 edgebander, a contour edgebanding trimmer and a Rover B 7.65 FTflatbed CNCmachining center, purchased from Biesse America. Also integral in the machining processes are: an Evans layup line, Masterwood point-to-point machining center, Koch dowel inserts and Giben panel saw. Commercial Cabinet Solutions is in the process purchasing a Selco twin pusher saw to help with the increased workload. The company uses Microvellum software in the design and production of its customer products.
A Family Affair
Family is important at Commericial Cabinet Solutions. Maglicco is the shop foreman, while her brother Mark handles the orders and bids. The ability to obtain 2 retain quality employees has helped Commercial Cabinet Solutions stay successful. Mea ows says they typically recruit young, inexperienced people at the start of their careers and train them, rather than hiring experienced people. All employees are cross-trained on all of the equipment, and Meadows feels they have a really good crew in place. A large contract on the horizon will present new challenges for the company. Space is already an issue, and they may need to hire and train additional workers for a third shift. “I just don’t know if there are enough hours in the day,” Meadows says. “We take one day at a time, and just try our best,” he adds. “We probably fail as much as we succeed, that’s just part of it. “We learn from our mistakes. Every day we learn something new here. I don’t think you ever stop learning.”
Wood100 – The Right Solution by Brad Walseth, 2007