Millwork And Casework Industry Question


From original questioner:

Millwork and Casework Industry Question: In what City/Cities have the most Millwork and Casework Shops Gone out of Business? Please Comment

From contributor ca

I don't think you will get anything but anecdotal answers to this question but it is an interesting one nonetheless.

What is the hypothesis you are trying to test?

The second part of the question would be what were the things that caused these shops to go out of business?

From contributor Pa

I don't know where you would get this data maybe from FRED or BEA or BLS. You would have to do some digging.

It is a cinch that most of the BKs would have been in areas that were the most inflated by the housing bubble.

I'm guessing Ny,Fla, Ca, Nv,Tn?

From contributor Pl

[insert website here]

[post open ended question here]

let the work roll in!

From contributor Ro

Out of Respect for the members Posting Legitimate responses Please do not Post Trolling inflammatory Comments!
Non-Members Posting non-sense only Destroys the Integrity of the Wood Web!
I am a Registered Member with nothing to hide Posting a Legitimate Millwork Industry Question!
Thank you in advance for your Respect,

No Reply to this Comment is Expected any Issues Should be Addressed with the Wood Web Staff and not Posted here!

From contributor Ro

@Pat Gilbert, Thank you for your Reply. I know that In Detroit Mi. Metro Detroit Area, at least 10 Major Millwork Companies have gone out of Business Since 2007.
I am Sure AWI Would have Some states on this Issue, that is the other place i am asking this Question.

From contributor Pa

Did Detroit have a bubble?

Out of curiosity what are you looking at?

From contributor Ma


I'm in the Detroit market and I can't think of 10 major companies that have gone out of business. Only a handful.

Business is booming here.


From contributor Ro

@PAT, My data has just been coming from shop owners and Industry Pros. In the Metro Detroit Area, and Yes they had a Bubble. also Michigan was in a single-state recession. Its unemployment rate, at 7.1% before the Great Recession of 2008 ever hit the USA in a Whole.

From contributor Ro

@Mark Elliott , Yes I have been hearing things are on the up tick now in the "D". But Detroit Took a Beating over the last Decade. I hear the Michigan housing industry is poised for the best year since the Great Recession of 2008.

From contributor Pa

Pretty optimistic report, where do they expect the buyers to come from? What are the jobs in that area?

From contributor mi

One of my sheet goods suppliers was just in and we talked about D
etroit. They are in the process of adding another rep to make 3 for that area. He says its over the top busy. ON the other hand, I just went to Canada for a long weekend over the 4th and made sure to not get off the freeway in the area:)

From contributor Ch

The question that I have regarding Detroit, and other similar cities, is what type of work is in demand? Is it high end custom work? Store Fixtures? Low end starter kitchens to replace burnt out houses? Residential? Commercial? Government? Healthcare? Institutional?

From contributor Al

I think this is a little like asking all those not here to tell us where they are from.

go to the US census and search

From contributor Ch

Well, thank you very much for a link to 2011 census data. /sarcasm

Sorry, but that is not helpful, Alan.

From contributor Ma

Just a little bit about the Detroit market.

It's not so much that there is new housing going up, it's all about people updating their homes because they're not going to move any time soon. But of the houses that are being built, many are 7 figure homes.

The 2 major store fixture companies are working overtime to keep up with demand.

At one time, and I think it still may be true, Oakland County, one county north of Detroit, was 1 of the top 10 counties for wealth.

The auto industry made this a very well to do area.

As for the level of work, it's all pretty much high end that I'm seeing and dealing with.


From contributor Al

You could make a couple of mouse clicks and get 2012 data which is the most recent the census has.

You could search state tax records, business license records, contractor license boards and maybe come up with a list of companies that are no longer here.

Personally this is a statistic that has no measurable value to me. Without knowing a set of circumstances that led a profitable company to closing during the worse recession in a few years there is no meaning or sales value to me.

Back to the original question if 15 shops went out of business in the middle of Nebraska because they all sold into highly leveraged areas on the east and west coast and made no local sales, other than that part of Nebraska getting hurt how is it locally relative, they would have been victims of customers that were no longer buying from them for reasons that had nothing to do with their companies geography and everything to do with the geography of where they made their sales. So what is the usefulness a statistic of their closing and geography? Is the plan to get a meaningful statistic based on closings and then try and determine cause or how much market is now available?

There is not enough information in a geographic closing to make meaningful assumptions unless you measure every metropolitan area by size and closing and can determine deviations from the mean that exceed an expected deviation.

At what point do we get back to why is this information valuable to us in selling our work or selling our business or managing our business.

From contributor Ch


Thank you for your response. That was the type of anecdotal evidence that I sought. There are several valuable points that I can garner from your observations that may apply to my market (in a completely different part of the country).

My goal is to get a feel for the current mood or sentiment of buyers and the market. I know this varies regionally and locally, but sometimes trends are felt on a national basis as well.

Past statistics do not predict the future any more than past performance of the stock market can predict future stock prices. So, I either take historical statistics with a grain of salt, or disregard them totally. (Yes, I know that people who ignore the past are likely to repeat the same mistakes. But, that isn't the point. One needs more information than just history.)

No disrespect to the numbers in the government-collected census statistics, but knowing what is happening in real-time, as the market is constantly changing, is more important to me. In fact, it may mean life or death of a business if the wrong assumptions are made. Being able to spot current and future trends in the marketplace is extremely vital. And that is "information valuable to us in selling our work or selling our business or managing our business."

Thanks, guys.

From contributor ca


A tautological statement is an unnecessary repetition of the obvious. In order to have any significance it needs to provide some call to action. To say the sky is often blue is one thing, to say we anticipate a heat wave so drink plenty of water and remember to check in on your elderly neighbors is quite another.

We know that people are sometimes happy and they tend to spend more money when their mood is buoyant. What we are looking for is what kinds of events constitute yellow flags for contingency planning.

A lot of would-be entrepreneurs deal in fuzzy platitudes. They don't have a plan for failure because in their world there is no such thing as a problem, there are only opportunities. These people sleep through the manifestations of problems because they can't recognize the clues. After they finally wake up they spend some time trying to develop a strategy to combat the problem and then they have to survive through phase three while they are waiting to discover if phase two strategy actually works.

A more experienced entrepreneur can recognize a storm front because they have proactively determined what constitutes a yellow flag. When they see one they keep an eye on the horizon but immediately go stand next to the red lever. When the second yellow flag pops up they pull the red lever. The length of time period between when problem manifests and solution kicks is greatly decreased while odds of success are greatly enhanced.

So what kinds of events constitute yellow flags in our industry? That's where this question should be focused and that's how past is prologue to the future.

From contributor Pa

That census bureau statistic might be more prescient than you think.

A central part of the pros marketing study is demographics, for good reason.

I have seen it said about the US market: "It is a collection of seven nations and three quasi-independent city-states, each with its own tastes, proclivities, resources and problems. "

He predicted the Utah area to grow quite a bit in the next 10 years. Where as LA and Orange County not so much because of demographics.

Job growth = population growth = more housing = more commercial work.

The key would be to look where the new jobs are being created. It ain't Calif.

A part of this story is some re shoring of jobs from China.

But as far as real job creation goes that has been hamstrung for reasons that are too volatile to talk about.

From contributor Ro

WOW, Thank you all for the blazing comments. Unfortunately my question has gone basically unanswered while everyone asks why I am asking this question or telling me what Questions I really should be asking. I have one very good and purposeful reason for asking this Question of which I am keeping to myself for Business Development reasons at this present time! If you know of, or have heard of Millwork and casework shops going out of Business in a particular city please post that information here! If anyone wants to discuss my reasons feel free to call of e-mail me! Thank you all for your participation.

From contributor Ro

Still looking for feedback on this topic, Please post !!

From contributor st

Perhaps you could rephrase the question.
Are you looking for anecdotal observations or empirical information?

What constitutes a millwork/casework shop for this sample? Is there a threshold of employee size or production volume that is germane to your question?

Are you looking for numerical data or trends? Did a village that lost one of it's three shops lose more than a village that lost 2 of 10?

Maybe a better source of information would the people who sell to cabinetshops. We've two or three vendors in the last five years and one or two have been absorbed by bigger companies. These types of businesses would seem to have more reliable information for you than to ask members of this forum to opine on which cities they THINK had the MOST millwork/casework shops go out of business.

From contributor Pa


I know this is not what you are looking for.

Detroit declared bankruptcy a few years ago, that means a lot of budget robbing items are going to go away. Detroit has no where to go but up.

Might be the future in Calif...