National Hardwood Magazine

 
 
 

December 2012 Feature Story

 

Once built, Aristokraft’s products are sold to end users through two primary channels: trade partners and large builders.
Aristokraft Cabinetry—The Right Blend Of Quality, Value, And Beauty

By Bridget McCrea

Jasper, Ind.—Aristokraft Cabinetry is in the DNA that runs through the MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc., family. Founded in 1954, Aristokraft’s status as the original member of MasterBrand’s product portfolio positions it as a market leader in an industry that supplies a broad range of customers with kitchen cabinets and related products.

The company purchases about 20 million board feet of lumber annually with primary species including rich Cherry, Rustic Birch, Hard and Soft Maple, Oak, Poplar, pine, Chinese Birch, Hickory, and various laminates.

The raw materials are procured from various global suppliers with the majority of the lumber, dimensional mouldings, and components coming from suppliers in the U.S. and Canada.

“Aristokraft was one of the first U.S. cabinet companies to introduce personally designed kitchens out to a mass market segment in the 1950s, post-World War II era,” said Joel Culp, executive vice president of marketing and strategy, MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc. “The housing market was booming at the time and our products went into most of those new homes.”

The first channel comprises roughly 1,000 certified Aristokraft cabinet dealers that invest in inventory, display the products, and sell directly to consumers.
Aristokraft has always stood for its ability to create quality, visually appealing cabinets at an affordable price. Speed to market and quick delivery times – both of which had yet to come to the forefront for contractors and builders – were an early focus for the firm, whose “complete kitchen solution” served as a catalyst for its growth.

With nearly six decades of success under its belt, Aristokraft has added additional room solutions to its core kitchen cabinet business. “Our focus is on the kitchen, but our customers love taking our ‘look’ out into other rooms of the home,” explained Culp. “To accommodate that demand we’ve extended our product lines to reach into the living room, home office, garage, and wine cellar.”

Headed up by Greg Stoner, president, MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc., Aristokraft has about 1,400 employees who work in the firm’s Ferdinand, Ind., and Huntingburg, Ind., facilities. “The Ferdinand and Huntingburg plants are very closely integrated,” said Culp, “and are about a nine-iron away from each other, physically.”

Aristokraft’s stock cabinet business in Ferdinand and batch operations in Huntingburg both run two full-time shifts that vary from 8 to 10 hours in duration.

“The woods that we use are really driven by the needs of the market, our design partners, and the consumer,” explained Culp. “We’re always looking to expand those offerings based on where the market is headed.” With an ongoing goal to produce a “very robust cabinet,” the company purchases a wide range of wood thicknesses.

The second channel includes large, national builders and public contractors who choose to incorporate Aristokraft cabinets within their ongoing builds and remodeling projects.
“We build a very well-constructed cabinet,” said Culp, “and we also construct end panels and door fronts. As a result, the range is pretty wide.”

Once built, Aristokraft’s products are sold to end users through two primary channels: trade partners and large builders. The first channel comprises roughly 1,000 certified Aristokraft cabinet dealers that invest in inventory, display the products, and sell directly to consumers. The second channel includes large, national builders and public contractors who choose to incorporate Aristokraft cabinets within their ongoing building and remodeling projects.

“We strive to maintain a high level of quality within our facilities while making it easy for our builder partners, designers, trade partners, and the consumer to do business with us,” said Culp. “We take the complexity out of the kitchen, whether that means using innovative assembly processes, hardware mechanisms, or packaging.”

By providing value-added services without adding complications to the process, Aristokraft has been able to ride out the multiple economic swings that have been put in front of it. During the most recent downturn, for example, Culp said the firm has further honed its ability to make products simpler to install and easier to handle. “Ultimately, we want projects to go smoothly to satisfy our customers to keep coming back for more,” said Culp. “That’s a key initiative for us right now.”

As it rides out the challenging business environment and waits patiently for the U.S. homebuilding market to rebound, Aristokraft will be well positioned to scale up to meet new demand for its cabinetry product lines. And while that “big, dream, kitchen buyer” has been in hiding for the last few years, Culp said there is a perpetual demand for Aristokraft’s tried-and-tested products.

The raw materials are procured from various global suppliers with the majority of the lumber, dimensional mouldings, and components coming from suppliers in the U.S. and Canada.
“Customer expectations haven’t changed,” said Culp. “They still expect the right color, fashion, styles, and storage capabilities in an innovative, quality product, and they want it all at a great value. That’s a hot niche that our company fits very nicely.”

Aristokraft is a member of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association. For more information visit www.aristokraft.com.

 
 
 
     
 
 

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