Kitchen Craft Cabinetry
Kitchen Craft Cabinetry has been in business for more than 40 years. The business started out in Winnipeg, Manitoba, serving regional customers with a line of high quality kitchen cabinets. Over the years, the business has expanded into new lines, serving the cabinetry needs of homeowners and business owners throughout Canada. In 2002, the company became part of MasterBrand Cabinets Inc., building up a market share through a network of dealerships on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.
Chris Laxdal serves as the general manager of Kitchen Craft’s Edmonton stores. He has been with the business since 2014 and previously worked for 25 years in the construction industry. He leads a team of employees serving retail customers and contractors from three locations around Edmonton, Alberta.
Retail and distribution sales
“We have two retail locations and a do-it-yourself store from which we sell cabinetry around Edmonton,” says Laxdal. “A majority of the business from our retail location includes installation, which we offer through a network of about 80 installers and service technicians. Our DIY store is sales only, directly out of the plant to our customer base.”
Beyond these retail locations, the company also supplies Kitchen Craft products to home improvement retailers throughout Canada and the United States. The operation works with commercial contractors and tract homebuilders, such as Abby Lane Homes, Alldritt, Brookfield, Carrington and Coventry Homes as well. Other customers include high-end builders and renovators, many of which perform custom kitchen design and installation projects valuing upward of $50,000.
“We are currently working on numerous multifamily high-rises,” Laxdal notes. “We are also donating kitchens to Wellspring in Edmonton – they have offices across Canada that assist cancer patients and their families. It was really nice to be able to give back in a way here in Edmonton.”
Keeping up with demand
Over the years, Kitchen Craft has built a reputation for quality in both materials and aesthetic properties of products. Homeowners and business owners have come to trust the brand for durability, practicality and beauty, whether they are looking for something more classic or more contemporary.
While Kitchen Craft manufactures and maintains a broad selection of cabinetry, the brand is constantly making adjustments to the line to better fit the demands of customers. “We always want to focus on what the consumers are looking at,” Laxdal clarifies. “We can get them about anything they want and we even do custom work.
“I would say that the trends as of late are to go smaller, not bigger,” he continues. “We have seen rising popularity with our more contemporary models. The way the industry is moving right now is very interesting. In the past, typically the cabinet industry has followed Europe. Lately, the trend has been reversed and North America is leading the market right now. There is also a difference between what is popular in Canada and what is popular in the U.S. In Canada, we typically use a frameless style of Cabinet, a European trend, versus the U.S., where the framed style of cabinet is more popular.”
As far as materials go, Thermofoil has been very popular in the last couple of years. “The Thermofoil product is a vinyl wrap over the top of KCMA particle board, which is the latest, greenest cabinet board,” says Laxdal. “That simply seals over the particle board and customers can get it in white, wood grain and other surfaces in a flat panel or raised panel design. Our installation partners are putting a lot of that in right now.”
While Thermofoil is a growing line, Laxdal says the company’s bread and butter is still stained products. “People have a hard time straying far from stained wood products and all of our wood products are handmade in our manufacturing plant in Winnipeg,” he elaborates. “We make all the doors ourselves out of raw wood – everything is completely in-house there.”
Relationships are the backbone of Kitchen Craft. As its very base level, Kitchen Craft benefits from the support of MasterBrand and other affiliates through production, supply and distribution resources. This partnership has helped boost growth for the brand throughout Canada and the United States, getting Kitchen Craft product into more homes and businesses.
With the strong support of its parent company and installation partners, Kitchen Craft is also able to improve and expand relationships with customers. Vertical integration and connections with contractors only add to the value that end users find in these products.
Looking ahead, Laxdal sees smooth sailing for the business. While a dip in oil prices has slowed down the market in Alberta, the trend is cyclical and sales will grow again. Meanwhile, the company continues to produce high-quality cabinetry for distribution all over North America.
Over the coming years, Kitchen Craft Cabinetry will continue to grow internally, maintaining high standards of quality and customer service for a growing market.