Letters to the Editor: November

Reader Stresses Importance Of Good Business Skills

Dear Eliot,

With regard to your October Editorial, “It’s Time to Get Down to Business,” I agree that kitchen and bath dealers and designers are woefully under-educated when it comes to business management.

However, the other elephant in the room is that the industry, namely cabinet manufacturers, has created this mess by emphasizing design and sales and neglecting management skills. I have long seen this as an Achilles heel for those designers who, starry eyed, make the enormous investment necessary to open a showroom and compete for business in this industry. Meanwhile, the cabinet manufacturers that profit from these investments by their dealers have trained and developed a “captive audience:” an audience all too eager to learn the latest in design trends from reps and manufacturers, while ignorantly neglecting cash flow and the rudiments of conducting a proper business.

Without these dealers, cabinet manufacturers would have to market their own products in their own showrooms across the nation. With their dealers, manufacturers are able to simply produce their products while the big financial risks fall on the dealers. This has been going on for generations now. A few dealers make it big and the rest are relegated to making wages. Meanwhile, the manufacturers prosper and dealers fail and lose their investments.

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

Dealer Professionalism Strongly Supported

Dear Janice,

The October issue of KBDN made my day, week, month and year! The combination of Eliot Sefrin’s editorial, Ken Peterson’s comments about the role of project managers and the two related stories drove home a point I have been preaching for the past 30 years. That is: If kitchen/bath dealers truly want to be the best they can be and maximize the return on the many dollars and long hours they invest in their businesses, they must become more professional, more sophisticated business managers.

Certainly, being great designers is important, but this alone won’t help these hard working owners and their employees achieve maximum results. They must start taking good business management and teaching selling skills more seriously. I’ve been waving these two important flags as high and hard as I could for the past 30 years.

I am so pleased to see your publication sponsoring the seminars and giving editorial space to this important subject. The future success of our industry depends on this and more.

Hank Darlington
Darlington Consulting
Gold River, CA