Dealers Share Outlook on Economy, Housing

Kitchen & Bath Design News recently posed the question to dealers and designers in the kitchen and bath industry: What improvements do you foresee in the economy and housing industry in 2011 and how will those expectations impact your firm? Following are some of their responses:

"I foresee that more houses will sell and that the surplus of inventory will start to come down. In my area, there are about 25 percent fewer homes on the market than there were at the same time last year. As the market will still be good for the buyer, deals will be available and will leave additional funds for those buyers to remodel their homes. People who are staying in their existing residences will have a greater confidence in the economy and start to come out from their ‘retreat holes' to remodel those homes as well. I also foresee that people will feel more secure in their jobs, which, in turn, will allow for further confidence in their ability to [invest safely in] remodeling. 

As we are remodelers, I really see a wonderful opportunity for growth during this upcoming year. We are seeing this start to happen now. Our showroom, for example, is getting more and more people visiting, which is a wonderful thing to see.

Even during this down economy, we have seen our business grow by over 20 percent during 2010 and we expect an even bigger increase this year. 

Overall, we are seeing more people buying homes again, more people coming through our showroom who want to remodel, and many people who had thought of selling in the past who have now decided to stay and remodel where they are."

Rob Feinberg, CKD
Allied Kitchen & Bath
Fort Lauderdale, FL


"I'm anticipating that 2011 will be a year of incremental growth in our area. New construction in the upper end, a staple of my business prior to 2008, is still completely stagnant due to a large, unsold reserve of built homes on the market. However, the pace of the remodeling market seems to be slowly improving, although from what I have seen, it has still been coming in spurts and dry spells that defy the normal seasonal fluctuations of this segment of the market."

Bill Camp, CKD, president
Triangle Design Kitchens
Raleigh, NC


"I think things are starting to open up a little bit overall, although we have been dealing with a very tough economy in our area since the fall of 2007. Over that time, I've had consultations where I'd go out and tell people what I thought they should do with their kitchen, but I've just recently had my first meeting in over a year where I actually did a measurement and drawings for a client."

Peggy Deras, CKD, CID
Kitchen Artworks
South San Francisco, CA


"We are forecasting a much better year in 2011 and we expect to be working predominantly with residential customers who are either building or remodeling their homes. As people are feeling more confident about the economy and their jobs, they are moving forward with projects that were already in the works, or beginning new ones. So far, our year is off to a good start and we expect the momentum to continue.

Customers are still looking for value and wanting the most ‘bang for the buck,' but the general outlook as we see it is excellent. Therefore, we will continue to focus on cabinetry, although we do also sell appliances (we're a displaying dealer) and countertops. I'm always open to new opportunities but I'm not currently planning on adding any services beyond what we already do."

Maria Frank, v.p.
Cabinets & Designs
Houston, TX


"I see that people are more open to spending money now. Therefore, I think the remodeling industry in particular is going to see an increase this year because people didn't spend the money last year. In January alone, we saw a lot of people and had a lot of meetings with clients. If that's any indication, I think things will be okay this year. Of course, I don't anticipate them being as good as they were back about four years ago, but they certainly will be better than last year. As a company, we have reigned in our resources to handle a smaller volume of business, so I think we'll be more profitable while we weather one more year. I'm very optimistic about the future and excited to see how things develop."

Bill Wrape, owner, CKD, CBD Distinctive Kitchens
Little Rock, AR


"Looking toward the near future, I am considering hiring a new staff person at the very minimum. I believe the economy is starting to swing upwards, and while I think it is going to take a long time to get back to where it was, I am very optimistic about the future. I am also involved with the SEN Design Buying Group and I am going to be picking up new product lines in order to make my shop more interesting and appealing for consumers.

At this time last year, I had no one walking into my shop, and now I am seeing approximately four to five new people walking in per week. I still have to qualify them, but it is quite a difference and I'm expecting it to continue."

Dawn St. Peter, president
Kitchen Encounters
Augusta, ME

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