Taking your closet business to next level
Conference sessions focus on certification, design, and marketing to millennials.
CABINETS & CLOSETS 2017 | By Bill Esler
With a thriving building and remodeling market as backdrop, the 2017 Cabinets & Closets Conference and Expo
returns to Chicagoland April 11-13, coming to the Renaissance Convention Center in suburban Schaumburg, Illinois.
With the business climate much improved, closet businesses
and cabinetmakers are contending with the challenges that
accompany growth, such as ;nding and training workers,
maintaining consistent quality, and reaching new markets for
the next generation of customers. “Taking Business to the
Next Level” is the overall theme for the three-track conference on April 11, followed April 12-13 by a two-day expo
expected to be the largest ever staged for closets and cabinet
markets. Around 100 exhibitors will be showing design and
manufacturing technology for cabinetry, closets and home
organization systems, along with panel, functional and decorative hardware, and business applications.
Design trends such as lively patterns, embossed-in-register
panel surfaces, thin-stile glass doors, inventive and active
organizational hardware and components, and more painted
cabinetry will be discussed at this year’s show. The conference begins with a keynote address by Chris Stevens, “Small
Business Numbers that Matter.” Stevens will share strategies
drawn from his years in business development, including a
pivotal role in the launch of the Keurig Coffee Maker.
The conference then splits into three tracks:
• Closets Track: Growing a Pro;table Business
• Cabinets Track: Power Up Your Business
• Lean Management: Center for Lean Learning
Attendees are free to mix and match sessions from different tracks.
They will gather mid-day for a peer-to-peer lunch, then board buses
at 3: 30 p.m. for a tour of Inter Ocean Cabinet Company, sponsored
by Stiles Machinery, followed by a networking reception. A single
registration fee for the conferences includes all sessions, lunch,
refreshment breaks, plant tour, and reception after.
Feeding the sales pipeline through marketing and management will be covered, with sessions on marketing to
millennials, project photography, and “Lead Generation
Myths that Cost Closets Companies Money,” presented by
Todd Bairstow, principal and founder of Keywords Connect.
Denise Butchko will talk about “Marketing to Millennials vs.
Boomers,” their consumer hot buttons and preferences.
During her presentation, “Real Fakes,” materials and design
specialist Grace Jeffers will examine the origin of colors and
patterns entering the lexicon of surfaces and panel speci;-
cation. She will explain how to shift the conversation with
clients to try new looks and
approaches. Jeffers speaks
April 11 during the Closets
Track at Cabinets & Clos-
New this year is on-site
Closet Design Certi;cation
by ACSP. And a Green
Cabinet conference for
Columbia Forest Products
Fabricator Network takes
place April 12.
There will also be workforce development sessions
covering how to hire methodically and set job descriptions; and using Lean Management to contend with a tightening job market. Construction
and remodeling businesses say they turn down work because
of designer and installer shortages.
Best Hiring Practices will be presented by Jessica Trippler
and Bob Gaudrea of consultancy Brink Results. “We help
organizations determine the behaviors needed to produce the
results for a certain position,” says Jessica Trippler, a human
resources specialist from Brink Results. “After the job position has been assessed through our review and questionnaire
process, we then assess the candidate.”
The Center for Lean Learning’s Brad Cairns will team with
The two-day expo is expected to be the largest ever staged
for closets and cabinet markets.
Design specialist Grace Jeffers
will speak on April 11.