Starting their cabinetry business in 2010, at or near the nadir of the home construction curve, Lance and Dawn Johanson knew they would have to keep expenses low.
“We were going slow and steady before we added a bunch of overhead,” Lance Johanson said.
That strategy appears to have paid off. After working out of the Maize home for four years, the couple last month opened a 1,500-square-foot showroom for their business, Builder Preferred Cabinetry, at 45th and Maize Road.
In addition to cabinetry, the business offers countertops and hardware and design and installation serves. The operation may be fairly new, but Lance said cabinets “are in our blood.”
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He worked at Custom Cupboards, a Wichita-based manufacturer of cabinets, for 28 years, leaving as vice president of operations. Dawn worked there a dozen years on the retail side of the company.
“The sales side was intriguing,” Lance said. “That’s why I left to do this.”
As their business name suggests, the couple originally targeted builders. But Lance said they quickly figured out they needed to sell to home and business owners as well, and a retail space with help facilitate that.
“You open up a showroom, that’s a whole new marketing strategy,” he said. “We want to work with everybody. If Mrs. Jones is trying to redo her kitchen, she’s the builder on it.”
About 65 percent of the Johansons’ business comes from new construction, with remodeling projects making up the rest.
The business works with commercial as well as residential customers, recently furnishing cabinetry for two large assisted living centers.
Johanson said there have been a couple of changes in the cabinetry business in recent years. One is the demand for outdoor kitchens and living rooms that require cabinets. The other is a much more eclectic approach inside homes.
“Nowadays it seems like everybody is doing their own style and colors within the rooms of a house, and even with the same room,” he said. “You can have combinations of three or four colors inside the same room.”
Asked if the couple are glad they went into business for themselves, Johanson said, “Oh yeah, it’s incredible. It’s getting better and better every day. We don’t sell on price. We sell off service, design and customer satisfaction.”