Cabinet sales down a ton in May, anyone seeing encouraging signs?

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Forum topic by MikeCWB posted 07-24-2009 12:04 AM 2298 views 0 times favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 2669 days

07-24-2009 12:04 AM

Topic tags/keywords: economy cabinetmaking

Hi All,

I just wanted to ask cabinetmakers across the country, are you seeing any more business this month? Or anymore orders coming in the next few months? I’ve been seeing some encouraging signs about how home prices and housing starts are stopping their slides, but also see news such as Cabinet sales decrease 35.2% in May.

Do you think the improvements in the overall economy will start getting seen by woodworkers??



39 replies so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17574 posts in 3094 days

#1 posted 07-24-2009 12:23 AM

The Dow is over 9000 today. It is supposed to be a leading indicator of what is coming down the pike.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View LarsCA's profile


16 posts in 2648 days

#2 posted 07-24-2009 01:42 AM

We’ve had some increase in sales lately, but it’s still much slower than last year, I think. However, our new CEO and production manager have decided that we need to produce more new designs to spur sales, and so they are keeping me busy. I don’t see sales reports, and so I don’t know the actual numbers, but our business took a fairly big hit last October. I’ve done several new chair designs (as well as floor lamps) that will be installed in our New York and London showrooms this fall. I can post pictures, once they have been launched. A lot of our cabinet makers are not nearly as busy as they would like to be, however. Real estate prices started going back up this month where I live.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2506 posts in 2856 days

#3 posted 07-24-2009 01:49 AM

The stock market is up but employment will keep lagging they say. Wonder if that is an indicator.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Maynard's profile


36 posts in 2723 days

#4 posted 07-24-2009 02:05 AM

Cabinets are one of the last items to be installed. If construction started today, you would not see any profit for 4 to 9 months. I would suspect that cabinet makers will be well aware of the increase of housing starts so as to prepare for the future.
I don’t think we will see, for the next decade at least, housing reaching anywhere near what we had 18 months ago. Hopefully, housing will pick up a little within the next 12 months. But who knows where interest rates will be, or how many can afford extreamly high down paymnts (compared to what we saw for the last 10 years), whether or not we will have hyper inflation with all the money the gov is printing.

Sorry, but I am pretty pesimistic. Builder since 1985, saw permits drop from an annual rate of 2,300 to an annual rate of 130 in 8 months in my county. If you want to see what the economy is doing, track cardboard box manufacturing. They are the best indicator of future economic growth.


View FEDSAWDAVE's profile


293 posts in 2851 days

#5 posted 07-24-2009 02:29 AM

There is a slew of economic indicators both Government and internal business. Maynard is right on with the cardboard box indicator. We buy them from a local company that makes them. They are producing and selling 24% of what they did in the same quarter of 06.

While the Dow went over 9000 today which was fueled by existing home sales being up 3.6% but they are up because of low prices…short sales, banks dumping forclosed inventory.

If you think that the unemployment rate at say 10.6% in your area is a real # think again. In all actuality it is probably 5-7 percentage point higher and one of the factors in this is people that have simply given up looking for work, can’t get on the claim bandwagon anymore and thye newly graduated that can’t find work and are not being counted.

-- David,

View a1Jim's profile


115171 posts in 2996 days

#6 posted 07-24-2009 02:40 AM

Try 20% unemployment in my area ,Cabinet sales zero since October ,furniture commissions 0 since January.
Thank goodness for some construction work the in the last 3 weeks.

-- Custom furniture

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17574 posts in 3094 days

#7 posted 07-24-2009 03:12 AM

rob, if that is an indicator of thing to come, well…....... With all the people left out of the real unempolyment figures, the offical 10% nation wide is probably close to 20 :-((

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1283 posts in 3156 days

#8 posted 07-24-2009 03:26 AM

Sacramento city’s building department is about 1/4 of what it was a couple of years ago and getting smaller. I use them as an indicator of things to come. I have seen maybe ten new homes being constructed in about 2 years. The folks who are buying short sales and foreclosed properties are mostly doing the work themselves. I, personally don’t want much to do with that crowd of nickel and dimers.We have many large furniture stores closing their doors. So, the stock market goes up right now because businesses are betting the Oscrewya administration will not get the so-called health reform accomplished. This will save many thousands of small businesses. Thus, saving jobs.

The cabinet shop’s are down to extremely low numbers of employees or closing their doors. I am still doing some shop work but mainly contracting now. It helps to be diversified.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 2977 days

#9 posted 07-24-2009 03:45 AM

We are not getting any new jobs either. Once we complete this major project we have been working on for over a year now, I see the boss drastically downsizing. I think he will layoff over half of the workers we now have. Housing permits are down to nothing around here and not looking any better into next year from what we are being told.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View davidroberts's profile


1025 posts in 2904 days

#10 posted 07-24-2009 04:52 AM

There are many reasons the equity markets goes up and down, but it is never the reason you hear on the news. The DOW is composed of 30 stocks, with not a homebuilder in the bunch. The “market” bottomed in March because it reached fair market value territory. The premium was sold out of the market. You have to look back to the mid 1990s to make since of it all. In 1995, the Fed started to let the money suppy outpace GDP by 2/3s. This means really cheap money. This money was used to fuel the internet bubble. Normally that much money sloshing around in the economy would cause inflation. But, as you know, outsourcing became more common, keeping a cap on labor prices. Cheap labor plus cheap money equals a hugh economy. Dwell on this: GDP for the first quarter of 1995 was $7.298 trillion. In the second quarter of 2008 it was at $14.294 trillion. Our economy doubled in just 13 years. OK. I’ve written a lot without making a conclusion but I got to go. I’ll try to finish my humble opinion later.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3067 days

#11 posted 07-24-2009 04:56 AM

the homing industry is starting to stabilize and pick up again – people buy/remodel homes = people need more cabinets and woodwork. may not be later on this evening, but it’s a good sign of whats to come.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 2745 days

#12 posted 07-25-2009 06:34 AM

New home sales have fell through the floor but things have actually picked up in my part of the state for remodeling. This area is pretty insulated from the economy….with the two biggest employers in the area being the state prison and the Army ammunition plant that makes almost every bomb for the military (Always need prisons and bombs I guess). Plus this town is loaded with “Old Money” ...probably 50% of all the business’s here have been in the same family for a couple of generations.

Granted “New” Home sales have really dropped because people are scared of what may happen…but those same people who seem to build a new house every few years are now remodeling…or buying older house’s for their kids and fixing them up.

Some of the ones who are fixing up and remodeling are going all out in the cabinets and custom furniture and built In’s.

-- Don S.E. OK

View gerrym526's profile


266 posts in 3227 days

#13 posted 07-30-2009 08:13 PM

From most of your comments it seems for many of you business has been focused on new home construction needs. And we all know that the days of easy mortgage credit are long past and won’t be coming back any time soon. I’d expect to find almost no new construction-happens to be the case in my area as well as other parts of the country.
I think Don K’s perspective is an interesting one, and easy to understand. People are staying put in the houses they currently own, and if they’re still working will want to remodel and upgrade their space. That was the pattern pre-2001 before the bubble, and flipping properties as a hobby.
What’s puzzling is the sense I’m getting that those of you whose business came from new construction are not refocusing on the remodeling market?
Is there a business “retooling” obstacle keeping that from happening?

-- Gerry

View Ronnie Jackson 's profile

Ronnie Jackson

44 posts in 2699 days

#14 posted 08-05-2009 11:17 PM

other than a few vanities, and one small kitchen remodel. all ive done is a handful of furniture jobs. this year antique restoration has been big for me, seems like thats all ive done


View WhittleMeThis's profile


125 posts in 2792 days

#15 posted 08-06-2009 08:01 PM

As many I have had to branch out into other area, I have found the competition has increased and the jobs have decreased, I now find plumbers, electricians and other handyman types working outside their expertise to try to survive. A plumber I know will take any work he can find, he recently did a hardwood floor and crown molding installation, having had 0 experience, but he needed the cash and he had just finished a hot water tank replacement for the same customer and sold her the hardwood floor installation.

In the furniture biz in my area furniture stores are closing by the bucket load, large and small alike.

There are much fewer commission for high end custom furniture.

New homes are still being built in my area but its down some 80% from 2 years ago.

Wins have come from prior customers and networking (Rotary, Kids Soccer, Local Chamber). If you want to sell stuff you have to be proactive and look for the work (much more than in years past) as few potential customers will knock on your door or respond to your web site.

Overall its a tough year I spend a ton of time marketing and substantially less time building.

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