Minden’s Trevor Chaulk believes he has found a way to take his cabinet-making business to the next level, outlining a multi-year vision to become an industry leader nationwide.
Having recently wrapped up a months-long rebranding process, evolving from a general localized woodworking operation to one centred around e-commerce, Chaulk invited members of the community for a tour of his facility Jan. 26. Located just outside Minden on Hwy. 35, the 5,000 sq. ft. shop is churning out around 100 custom-made kitchens annually, though Chaulk hopes to triple that number by 2026.
“We’re trying to change the narrative on what people think when they need cabinets. They think [big box stores], but what most people don’t realize is we’re more cost-effective in many cases than those companies,” Chaulk said. “We’re faster, we offer a higher quality, and we deliver a better service. The three things that everyone says you can only choose two, we’ve found ways to incorporate all three.”
It’s a long way from the single-man operation Chaulk launched in his garage 14 years ago. Now, the company has grown to 10 employees and is shipping products all over North America.
By streamlining the business to focus solely on cabinet making, Chaulk has been able to work on his processes in-house. After taking in a cross-country tour with his partner, Angela, to visit other successful woodwork operations, he figured out where his business was lacking and how they could improve.
One of the biggest changes, he said, was going from working on multiple orders at a time to now seeing a single project through to completion before starting another. Productivity in the shop has doubled, even after implementing a new four-day work week.
The development of a new website, recently released but still requiring some tweaks, will be a game-changer long-term, Chaulk says. Customers will be able to place orders online at any time of the day, while any designs requiring a quote will be returned within a couple of hours. He hopes to have it online by the end of the year.
“You’re not going to find that anywhere else,” Chaulk said. “We are ready to take that next step in becoming one of the first in the industry to start offering fully customizable, online e-commerce. If you just need a single cabinet, we can do that. If you need a full kitchen, we can do that.”
And he plans to do it all in a new record turnaround time. “We’re going to try and get certain product lines out within a 24-to-48-hour delivery window. Nobody else in this industry can touch that,” Chaulk said.
He’s also added a new segment to his business by working more closely with contractors, offering wholesale pricing on all Chaulk cabinetry products. This benefits both sides – the contractor saves money, and he gets further exposure for the Chaulk brand. Since launching three months ago, he’s signed agreements with six local contractors.
Chaulk is excited for the future. He expects he’ll need to expand his current workspace and has plans to add a two-story extension on the back to extend the shop floor and install a fully automated artificial intelligence material storage system above.
“We have lofty goals. We want to become an industry leader in Canada,” Chaulk said. “That would be pretty cool for a small company in Haliburton County.”