We were born here in Wilmington, and this is still our home. But since we started 28 years ago, Markraft Cabinets has expanded into other markets. Our biggest presence outside of Wilmington is the Nashville, Tenn. market, where we have tried out several new ideas about how to run our business.
I mention this now because what we’re doing in Nashville is going to help what we do here in our home town.
You may wonder why a Wilmington-based company would expand to Tennessee before branching out to other cities in North Carolina. The answer is that we had a very specific opportunity that we were able to take advantage of. Six years ago, a large national home-builder told us it needed a service company in the Nashville market, and they liked how we do business. So we set up a branch there, at first in a leased warehouse, with a small Selection Center in the same space.
Our business in Nashville grew, with more builders and more individual homeowners as customers. Soon we needed to set up a much bigger Selection Center to accommodate them. The Selection Center is our showroom. It’s where we have model kitchen and bath layouts set up, and samples of all our manufacturers’ styles and materials available, to help customers decide on the perfect look for their properties.
Besides being too small, our first Selection Center had another problem. It was tucked into a warehouse in an industrial park, easy enough for contractors to find, but completely invisible to the general public. We needed to have a public face on a major street, where we’d benefit from drive-by traffic.
At the same time, we wanted to keep the Selection Center and our warehouse under the same roof. The warehouse had to be convenient for our installers and suppliers to reach, close to the Interstate highways.
We made the decision to move into a new space, and were lucky to find the perfect location. It’s close enough to freeway exits that we didn’t have to worry about traffic congestion. And it’s on a well-traveled street, so the retail customers were finding us.
Having both sides of our business in one location is similar to what we used to have here, when our Selection Center was next to our warehouse on Castle Hayne Road, near downtown Wilmington and ILM Airport. What’s different in Nashville is that our facility there has a much larger Selection Center, 3,500 square feet of display. That compares to just 2,250 at our present Oleander Drive location.
Based on what we’ve learned in Nashville, we’re planning to create a brand-new Selection Center here in Wilmington, sharing a building with our main offices. It will be just as visible and convenient for our customers as our Oleander showroom is now, but also convenient for our own people and the contractors we work with.
That will be one of our biggest projects in 2014, and we’ll be announcing the new location a little bit later into the year. Like our Nashville operation, where we’re fortunate to have a warehouse space to handle both sides of our business, we’re excited about moving into a real Selection Center that people can find, and drive by, and come in.
It won’t just be bigger. It will be easier for customers to navigate. You’ll see a clear path from one display to the next. We’ll have each of our various manufacturers’ samples – one cabinet line and the products they offer – in the same area. We think this will make it easier for customers to compare alternatives, and see more easily what choices each product line offers them.
For now, until our new facility opens, we invite everybody to come see our newest designs at 5424 Oleander Drive, Suite 9. We’re open 910 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and evenings and Saturdays by appointment.
I’m always happy to answer any questions about what we can do for you, in your home or for your business. Watch for more tips about how to enhance your home’s value and convenience!
Cee Edwards is President and General Manager of Markraft Cabinets. He joined the company in 1995. Since 1985, Markraft has specialized in cabinet and countertop design and installation in residential and commercial construction and custom remodeling. To learn more about Markraft, go to www.markraft.com. Contact Cee at 910-762-1986. Like Markraft on Facebook at www.facebook.com/markraftcabinets or follow Cee on Twitter at twitter.com/CeeEdwards.
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