First place: Kitchens by Deane, Stamford,
Design Firm Exceeds Three Generations of Expectations
Meeting the established standards of a business with a long-held reputation for excellence and service while continuing to grow and enhance that reputation has served as an impetus for the company's success.
Focusing on the high-end residential market in Fairfield and Westchester counties, the company has become a fine example of smart design, service and marketing strategies, earning them first place honors in Category One of K&BDN's second annual Industry Leadership Awards.
Working with a staff of 21, including 10 commissioned designers, and two showrooms, the company uses an "open-door policy," incorporating weekly designer meetings and general office meetings, which give all staff members a forum where they can contribute ideas, and benefit from each other's experiences.
A wide variety of products allow designers the ability to design in Contemporary, Traditional or Old World styles. A company-wide focus on offering unique architectural elements and distinguishing finishing techniques adds to the firm's design appeal.
As with any business, publicity is key to bringing in new business. To spread the word, the company uses "consistent, recognizable color endorsement ads in regional magazines," and "has pioneered the use of local cable TV with our own spokesperson, Ingrid Deane Casey," Deane and Cooney report.
Additionally, the firm uses the local newspaper to promote
itself, maintains an impressive Web site, arranges kitchen tours,
and has been involved with community charities and program to
further raise community awareness and gain support.
This strategy has led to a referral base of approximately 85%, according to the company.
But it's when a project has actually begun that Deane and Cooney show why the real reason the business has succeeded for so long.
The company believes in accountability, and supports this by servicing all previous clients, offering restoration work and providing a one-year installation warranty on all jobs.
In addition to the in-house staff, Deane provides installation for all projects with eight sub-contractor crews, ensuring accuracy and top-rate service.
While striving to maintaining the legacy of their family, Deane and Cooney have also shown that the sign of a successful business is one which is willing to change. While the firm was an exclusive St. Charles dealer from 1961-1988, the dealership realized the value of offering a wider selection, and in the late '80s, partnered with Downsview kitchens, Draper DBS and Heritage Custom Kitchens, thereby broadening the firm's design capabilities with regard to architectural elements.
To increase internal efficiency, they have restructured their order entry procedure so that all cabinet orders are reviewed by the project engineer with the commissioned designer to ensure clarity, accuracy and consistency. All cabinet pricing is executed on the computer, they note.
Furthermore, the Web site offers intra network capabilities between two offices, including Internet access for research.
Deane and Cooney also make sure to keep up with industry trends. Their belief that mill shops have become increasingly competitive among architects led them to partner with a local mill shop. This type of innovation has led to direct, positive results for the firm, they report.
Aside from their design team being recognized nationally with numerous sales/design achievement awards, the company has also seen an increase of sales volume at a 10%-15% rate annually. In addition, they report that the company's profit margin continues to increase, and jobs are completed at a more efficient rate.
Both Deane and Cooney work hard to exceed their company's historical mission statement: "The Kitchens by Deane family honors its legacy by providing the highest-quality custom cabinetry, innovative and compelling interior design, superior craftsmanship and outstanding customer service," However, they also differentiate themselves from the competition through a more recently created slogan : "When it's a Kitchens By Deane, it's your kitchen."