High tech cabinetry
Blue Mountain uses machine to enhance production
December 10, 2006
Two entrepreneurs are taking advantage of technology to provide more options and cost savings for their customers.
The first “employee” Mike Scott and Tony Borean hired when they launched Blue Mountain Cabinet Co. in August did not demand a lunch break and would work as many hours as needed.
“In our business plan, the CNC (computer numerical control) router is like our first employee,” said Scott, referring to the large $130,000 Italian-made Biesse cutting machine that serves as the workhorse in their Copper Ride Business Park shop. “We get a lot more out of this than we do from a $12-an-hour employee.”
Within eight minutes of pressing the start button, the machine had precisely cut and drilled holes in 17 cabinet doors and drawer fronts from the sheet of wood. All the cuts and holes had been mapped out using three-dimensional drafting software, which cost the business partners more than $20,000.
“It’s screen to machine,” Borean said. “If you can find a way to hold it down and get the part programmed, we can cut it out.”
While some other area custom cabinet manufacturers use automation in the manufacturing process, Scott and Borean claim to have the only machine like it in the valley.
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They said they considered opening a traditional custom cabinet shop, but decided against it, because of their experience and background in computer-assisted manufacturing.
Borean has been building cabinets for 11 years and used to own a cabinet shop in California, but he sold it and moved to Steamboat in 2000. For the past six years, Borean and Scott have worked at Fedewa custom works. Borean said he has a degree in industrial technology. At Fedewa, Borean was the plant manager. Scott worked there as the shop foreman.
They worked with local SCORE counselor Kemp Bohlen to develop their business plan and study the local market for custom cabinetry. SCORE is a national organization that offers free business advice to entrepreneurs.
“It’s a really big market for the amount of shops in this area,” Scott said. “All the cabinet businesses around here are slammed, and that’s pretty much what prompted us.”
They said they do not want to be known as the low-priced custom cabinet shop, but the investment they made in equipment should help keep costs lower. Sticking to a budget is key to their target customers – second-home owners, Borean said.
The machine can do engravings and makes angled and curved cuts as easily as straight cuts, which makes truly custom designs easier to manufacture.
“What may not have been in budget is now,” Borean said.
The machine also cuts the manufacturing time down considerably, meaning less time from sign off to delivery.
“We want to produce high-quality cabinetry, and we always want to be on time,” Scott said.
He said the company would build cabinets and countertops for all applications.
“The other big thing we can break into is custom closets,” Scott said.
They said marketing efforts for their business would focus heavily on networking with local architects and contractors.
“We are the new guys on the block so we kind of have to prove ourselves,” Scott said. “Our biggest push in the last four months was getting this place up and running.”
Soon, they will have a small showroom and Web site. The shop is at 2625 Copper Ridge Circle, Unit C, and the phone number 871-6875.
– To reach Matt Stensland, call 871-4210
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