NKBA Editorial

It’s time for a celebration – and not simply because the housing market, after languishing for five-plus years, is finally exhibiting signs of a genuine turnaround.

Instead, the celebration in question is in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the National Kitchen & Bath Association.

And it’s certainly well deserved.

Before the NKBA was founded, there was literally nothing in the way of a professional kitchen and bath industry. Kitchen design was in its infancy, bathroom design non-existent. A scattered universe of self-trained lumbermen, carpenters, millwork shops, and home builders dominated the design/sales/installation landscape.

The NKBA, more than any single factor, changed all that.

Founded as the American Institute of Kitchen Dealers (AIKD), the association nurtured the growth of the kitchen/bath industry, helping transform it into a respected profession practiced by tens of thousands of highly trained specialists. Just as importantly, the NKBA gave the industry an identity and voice, bonding its members by linking them through their common livelihood.

Its milestones are numerous. Along the course of its 50-year history, the NKBA set standards, established guidelines, and expanded the boundaries for design and product use. It educated thousands of industry professionals, and enhanced the professionalism of its members. It conducted research, launched competitions, established certification programs, and embarked on public relations campaigns and consumer promotions. It established a national convention and educational conference, published technical manuals, and created a wide range of networking opportunities.

And all the while it grew from the handful of visionaries who founded it as a dealer-only association into an organization of some 60,000 business professionals spanning virtually all segments of the industry.

It would be misleading to imply that the NKBA hasn’t seen its share of controversy, economic distress and turnover. But what 50-year-old association hasn’t experienced those issues? And how many have the legs to nevertheless reach their Golden Anniversary?

Not many, one would suspect.

In that sense, the NKBA has defied most odds. After 50 years, it is still standing, still providing valuable services, still attracting members, and still eliciting support from hard-working officers, legions of volunteers in chapters across North America and a dedicated cadre of staffers at the association’s New Jersey headquarters.

What the NKBA means to members is perhaps expressed most eloquently by its past and current presidents (see stories, Page 00 and 00), each of whom feels strongly that belonging to the association enabled them to achieve higher levels of personal and professional growth, and an unparalleled level of credibility in the eyes of customers and peers.

There’s no argument whatsoever about that.

Kitchen & Bath Design News is pleased to publish this 40-page supplement celebrating the NKBA’s half-century of enhancing member success, promoting professionalism and providing industry leadership.

KBDN joins a grateful industry in offering congratulations to the NKBA on its milestone anniversary. Hopefully, the next 50 years will prove equally substantive, as the association continues to serve the industry in innovative, meaningful ways.