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  • Brent DeWolff

Small Cabinetmakers have Advantages Over Large Shops

If you've purchased products or services recently, you'll have surely heard the phases "shop local" and "support small business". These phases are popular for a reason, and supporting small local businesses may be the best decision you'll ever make when it comes to large purchases such as custom kitchen cabinetry or services such as finish carpentry. In a world where mass production dominates many industries, there's an allure to the bespoke craftsmanship and client service that a small cabinet shop offers. While large factory shops can impressively churn out good products, if you're seeking high-end custom cabinetry with the latest design and hardware options then working with a small cabinet shop has many advantages. These craftsmen offer not just custom cabinetry, but an easy-going design and build experience, and products crafted with care, precision, and attention to detail exactly how you planned it all out in that very same shop's showroom. Many small shops design and build everything in-house, and this methodology has unique advantages over large factory shops. Let's delve into why opting for a small cabinetmaker can offer distinct advantages over their larger counterparts.


One of the most significant advantages of working with a small cabinetmaker over a large factory is the level of choice and customization offered. Unlike large shops where options might be limited to a few standard designs and finishes, small cabinetmakers thrive on the ability to tailor products to the unique preferences, design vision and everyday needs of the client. Imagine having the freedom to walk through the front door with a picture in hand and say "build this please". You can choose the type of wood, the style of the cabinet doors, the hardware, and even the dimensions to perfectly fit your space. Small cabinetmakers prioritize collaboration with their clients, ensuring that every detail is meticulously considered, incorporated into the design and construction phases, and finalized during onsite installation. This level of customization not only results in a product and service that is perfectly suited to the client's taste but also adds a personal touch that mass-produced cabinets simply cannot match.


Large factory shops with extensive assembly lines and automated processes may compromise quality and attention to detail in the lure of production speed. Admittedly, large shops can often out-produce a small shop when comparing the shear number of cabinets built per month. However, because small cabinetmakers rely heavily on their reputation, they operate with precision and care, maintaining strict quality control throughout every stage of production. Best quality sheet goods and solid wood products are used, every joint is carefully milled and assembled, every surface meticulously prepped and sanded smooth, and topcoat finishes expertly chosen and applied to meet the requirements of that specific job. Oftentimes the small cabinet shop's owner's eyes are the final quality control before products leave the shop, ensuring nothing is shipped for installation unless absolutely ready. Contrast these benefits with large shop's processes where small deficiencies go unnoticed, not due entirely to wilful negligence, but rather the small detail simply getting lost in the weeds of high production and hectic schedules. The small shop's dedication to quality ensures that each cabinet not only looks exquisite but is exactly how the client specified and stands the test of time. Clients can rest assured that their investment in truly custom cabinetry will last, with the utmost attention to durability and functionality.


Small cabinetmakers possess a level of flexibility and adaptability that larger factory shops simply cannot match. Whether it's accommodating unique design requests, adjusting dimensions to fit unconventional spaces, or incorporating specific features or functionalities into the overall design, small cabinetmakers excel at meeting the diverse needs of their clients. Designing a kitchen or built-in cabinetry is often handled with a skilled cabinetmaker alongside, a craftsman who knows exactly what works and what does not. This integral design knowledge yields cabinetry "that just plain works".

The flexibility extends beyond the initial design phase and into the production process itself. The small shop can easily pivot—by that, I refer to the contrast where a large factory may be fixed into particular design and construction methods, small cabinetmakers can easily shift to building cabinet doors one day to stair railings and floating shelves the next, all in the same workspace (whew)! Small cabinetmakers have the agility to adapt to changes on the fly or seamlessly ramp up productions schedules to ensure the final product meets the client's expectations and schedule in every aspect. This level of personalized service and attention to detail sets small cabinetmakers apart from large shops where once the job has progressed into the construction phase there is little opportunity for input change along the way. This adaptability forges strong client-shop relationships built on trust and collaboration.


While large factory shops may offer warranties on their products, the level of customer service provided by small cabinetmakers often surpasses that of their larger counterparts. Small cabinetmakers take pride in their work and stand behind the product they produce, oftentimes offering lifetime warranties on workmanship (e.g. Parkhill Woodcraft offers a lifetime warranty on drawer boxes). They are readily available to address any concerns or issues that may arise, providing personalized attention and promptly resolving the issue—the owner is always just a phone call and a friendly conversation away. As many small cabinet shops rely on their reputation and word-of-mouth referrals, they are highly motivated to ensure client satisfaction. This dedication to excellence extends beyond the initial purchase, fostering long-term relationships built on trust and reliability. Clients can rest assured that their investment is sound and that they have a trusted partner to turn to for any future needs or inquiries.

In the end it is simple: while large factory shops may offer convenience and efficiency (i.e. they're quick!), the advantages of working with small cabinetmakers are undeniable. From the unparalleled level of choice and customization to the uncompromising commitment to quality and attention to detail, small cabinetmakers embody the essence of craftsmanship. Supporting these local small cabinet shops embraces the dedication of the skill, flexibility and talent of these local craftsman, and clients not only acquire exquisite custom cabinetry and millwork but also support a tradition that values creativity, integrity, and excellence. In a world of mass production, small cabinetmakers stand as beacons of expertise and authenticity, offering a truly unique and unparalleled experience for those who appreciate the beauty of bespoke service.

---- Contact Parkhill Woodcraft today to begin designing your dream kitchen or custom cabinetry.


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