Interesting auction purchase

Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
Got this fan for $70 on auction Carolina Heritage Cabinetry in Wilkesboro. Plan is to slap a filter cloth on the back and use it to filter out fine dust particles which settle in the shop. Also as a paint booth fan. It is around 13,000 CFM.

Had a long discussion with General Manager as to why the business closed down. Long story short, well established years ago, use to do around $8 million in sales, but as the staff started aging and passing away, the old hard working sales folks who sold with good commission could simply not be replaced. Sales fell below $1 million and they lost money. Residential cabinets, doors and commercial cabinets. He is very critical of the working ethics of the young generation. Says his best sales guy use to do around $4 million a year, would be working in the office designing sometimes until midnight. The last young generation sales manager could hardly get to $80,000 a year.


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Brian Patterson

Bstrom
User
To be fair, mechanized competition and the work flow of this shop alone could have had a negative impact - but I get the point about a lesser productive staff. Automation and China have taken their toll on 'craftsmanship' which is a difficult business model to sustain without a significant margin of profit.
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
When it came to work ethics, Like my Dad used to say "you can't teach new dogs old tricks !" :D
 

Drew

Drew Goodson
User
Complaining about the younger generation really helps this site attract new members and grow the hobby. Has anyone considered that having one person responsible for half the sales of the company was potentially a problem?
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
It's not just work ethics, but a changing market. Go into any new construction, and all you see are painted, esp white cabinets. Thermo foil doors, or flat doors, all of which can be turned out for very little labor. I know of a couple local (used to be custom) cabinet companies who now buy all their boxes and doors in the flat. Pop them together and then deliver, with no finishing needed. Drawers are now glued, not dovetailed together. I've even seen drawers that have veneer on the sides that includes a print of dovetails. Times have changed. We all live under the Ikea effect. Most cabinets are replaced every time the house is sold, as new owners want "their " kitchen. Our neighbors, before placing their house on the market, redid kitchen, new floors, cabinets, and counter tops. First thing new owners did was to gut kitchen completely, even though it was brand new.
 

pcooper

Phillip Cooper
Corporate Member
I heard a similar story from a spindle factory over in High Point several years ago. I went there to buy some of the stock they were selling off for pennies each (square stock to make spindles with ). I bought a truck load of material for not much money, equipment had already sold and moved away. The owner told much the same story about labor but mostly about the competition from China and how things were moving there for far less money to make. Thing is, when we want a raise in pay, how does that affect the rest of the food chain? Lots of folk don't really understand how that works. In many ways we're driving business away from the US due to costs of doing things, which is sad. I'd hoped that more work would come back and the demand for good labor would return to create a drive in younger people to be proud of what they do and want to learn skills that were once very prevalent. We, on this site, can do a lot to drive the desire to learn the skills that each of us have, and create pride in doing things again.
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
Many companies have chosen to outsource their materials globally so there is less need to make it in-house in the USA. It's cheaper overseas and mechanization has reduced the need for a highly trained staff.
 

Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
I am just relaying my conversation with the GM who ran the place, not personally judging the new generation.

The residential and commercial cabinet business here in the US is still a good business, with a major portion manufactured here, unlike furniture which has migrated to Asia. It has shifted towards painted products in solid colors and pre-manufactured units in standard sizes. The key is automation and mass production.

The company in Wilkesboro which closed down was owned by an investor with diverse business interests and he was not active in the business, but rather hired someone to run it. It had a semi automated paint line, CNC and with good marketing and a brand approach I think it could have survived.

like anything, this is a highly competitive market with thin margins, so survival is for the fittest.

Personally with my one man show and sometimes a helper, getting materials at wholesale prices and zero overhead, I cannot compete with pre-fab painted cabinets made here in the US.
 

tarheelz

Dave
Corporate Member
I just finished building an additional 36" wide base cabinet to add to our kitchen. Our house had custom cabinets made by a local guy back in 2002 that were painted white back then. (Everything comes back into style.) Those cabinets have held up great.

Imagine my surprise after finishing this new cabinet to remove the old countertops to see that the guy from 2002 had built the kitchen almost entirely with 3/4 MDF (1/2 ply for the drawers and 1/4 inch play for the backer). Here I am having spent money on 3/4 maple ply for the case and popular for the face frame. At day's end it will all look the same. I'm a sucker.
 

Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
This doesn't sound like Carolina Heritage Cabinetry is a sinking business with decreasing sales.

Six years ago.

Today they are closed, everything sold on auction. The buildings are available for rent, someone is interested in the space for warehousing.
 

Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
I just finished building an additional 36" wide base cabinet to add to our kitchen. Our house had custom cabinets made by a local guy back in 2002 that were painted white back then. (Everything comes back into style.) Those cabinets have held up great.

Imagine my surprise after finishing this new cabinet to remove the old countertops to see that the guy from 2002 had built the kitchen almost entirely with 3/4 MDF (1/2 ply for the drawers and 1/4 inch play for the backer). Here I am having spent money on 3/4 maple ply for the case and popular for the face frame. At day's end it will all look the same. I'm a sucker.
Nope, MDF is heavy and harder to work with. Lifting those sheets are heavy and the dust is nasty. You are smart!
 

Pop Golden

Pop
Corporate Member
Don't despair there are still craftsmen out there. There are young folk still learning the craft. All is not lost. Yes I know some of the youngsters are trying to get rich quick that is NOT the way of the craftsman. It is the process of seeking perfection, failing and trying yet again. The great award isn't always money it just may be enjoying what you do and basking in the light of a well done finished product. As they mature young craftsman find this out. That's when they turn into craftsman, and happily turn in to old craftsman.

Pop:)
 

kelLOGg

Bob
Senior User
Concerning your intended use for the fan - is the motor totally enclosed? I would watch for motor temperature rise due to impeded air flow.
 

Skymaster

Jack
Senior User
main reason besides age that I got out of trimming.No money in it, builders seem to want you to pay them for the privilege of working for them
 

Willemjm

Willem
Corporate Member
Concerning your intended use for the fan - is the motor totally enclosed? I would watch for motor temperature rise due to impeded air flow.
I think we will be fine. The motor is belt driven, sits directly in the 13,000cfm air path.
 

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