We’re back with another blog in our 20th Anniversary series. If you missed the others, you can find them here. This time we’re talking about the memories that come along with doing business for 20 years.
Back in May, we hosted an event to celebrate and commemorate the journey we have been on for the last 20 years. In addition to all of our current employees, we recognized 20 of our long-time vendors, customers, and past employees who our owner felt made a significant impact on LW and played a role in our success over the years. These people have been with us through the ups and downs we have faced, so they have seen the journey and growth firsthand. LW has grown from a company with smaller, regional customers who helped us become who we are today into making parts for many of the top 10 OEM manufacturers across seven different industries—all with the highest attention to detail and level of service.
We reached out to the individuals on the list and asked them about a specific memory they have about LW. Whether that may be partnering with us as a customer or supplier, or working with us as an employee, their responses show that the role they played in our success was felt mutually. Here are just a few of the individuals and the memories they have:
John Griffin, Midwest Cabinet
Midwest Cabinet has been in business since 1984, and for the first 15-20 years, they laid up all of their own laminated panels. They had two plants both with laminating machines, which they could control completely, but they were in a season of growth and were hard pressed not only to hire quality employees but get them trained at the same time. When LW contacted Midwest Cabinet, they began thinking about how they could utilize LW’s capabilities and outsource to free up man power in their plant to spend time building their products. Ultimately, the partnership with LW led them to sell their laminating machines. John Griffin stated, “We designed product lines for our customers around LWI capabilities to produce for us.” Fast forward to now, Midwest Cabinet has downsized, but the partnership has remained solid.
Bret Williams, Duke Manufacturing Co.
Duke Manufacturing Co. is the outfitter for a nationwide restaurant chain and has relied on LW as their supplier for each job. According to Bret Williams, Duke Manufacturing Co. could not have had the success it has enjoyed without the support and determination from LW. Through creativity and cooperation during existing business and new rollouts, both LW and Duke benefit from a great, long-lasting partnership.
Dawn Boileau, Hi5 Furniture
Hi5 Furniture has been a loyal customer and trusted LW as a manufacturing partner for many years. We have watched Hi5 grow just as they have watched us. Dawn Boileau recalled her favorite memory back in 2009. Hi5 Furniture was still a young company and did not yet have a factory to host their first big client for a tour in their own facility, so LW offered to bring in both Hi5 and their client to tour our plant and see our capabilities. Dawn remembers being “extremely nervous to allow a vendor to represent the new Hi5 brand, but [LW] did such an amazing job that client has since done 1.3 million dollars with Hi5 over the past 10 years.” Today, Hi5 Furniture continues to tour our facility not only with customers but also with staff to train and learn at LW.
Randy Burton, Virginia Tile
Randy Burton started at the company that is now known as Virginia Tile back in 1975 and has watched as the industry has changed over the years. One notable change was the demand for laminated panels at the time. Up until then, most commercial casework, millwork and store fixture manufacturers bonded all laminate in house for their projects. Through this discovery, Virginia Tile made a strategic decision to partner with Laminate Works in hopes of growing this segment of the market. Randy recalled this great ride we have been on over the years together. In fact, LW was introduced to some of the regional companies we still call customers today through our partnership. We are very grateful for partnerships that challenge us to become stronger.
Ben Young, Past Employee
Ben Young is the longest tenured employee LW has had—nearly 20 years. He started as one of our first employees and just moved on to pursue a new opportunity last year. We were sad to see him leave LW, but his legacy lives on in our newly renovated office where we named the Ben Young Conference Room in his honor. From working on the plant floor to helping open our Dallas facility, Ben has truly seen us on our entire journey. He remembered specifically the way we used to lay up laminated panels when he was first hired. LW produced about 100-200 panels a week for our first two customers at the time, KONE and Minnesota Elevator. It was a very manual, labor intensive process. After describing the steps required to complete the orders, Ben said, “We didn't know better, and we didn't complain. No matter how many orders we had for the week, they always shipped out, failure was not an option.” Over the years, LW has increased output and improved quality with new equipment and automation, but the employees are not “button pushers.” Ben noted that while processes might have evolved, the level of commitment to delivering the right product at the right time has remained the same.
As you can see, we have created and maintained many quality relationships over the years. The customers above represent our strong regional base, which made us who we are today. Although we have grown, we stand by our commitment to delivering quality laminate parts on time. And, because of this, the customers we started with are still customers today alongside several of the largest OEM manufacturers.
We appreciate all of our customers, both regional and national, vendors, and past and current employees. They are a huge part of our success and we wouldn’t be here without each and every one of them.
To learn more about Laminate Works and how we could help you grow your business, visit our new customer page and fill out our 5 question survey to see if there's a good fit for us to work together.