WITH TOUGH times for local manufacturing, some of the region’s cabinet making community have banded together to form Independent Cabinet Makers Geelong (ICM Geelong) to highlight the skills and quality product manufactured by Geelong’s cabinet making industry.
The association (ICM Geelong) was formed by trades who are busy now and wanted to ensure this remained into the future.
With the introduction of larger department stores moving into kitchens, cabinet makers want people to know the difference between a “catalogue” kitchen and a custom-made kitchen.
ICM Geelong president Peter Hammond owns Windsor Kitchens and has been in the industry for over 25 years.
“ICM was set up so that Geelong homeowners could find a cabinet maker that provides a quality service,” Mr Hammond said.
“With the materials and technology available now, cabinet makers can offer latest kitchen trends at very competitive prices and in a timely manner.”
“ICM was formed so that the smaller cabinet makers could band together to have a greater marketing platform to promote their business.”
ICM cabinet makers also want homeowners to know they do much more than kitchens and bathrooms. They also make custom fitted and competitively priced desks, entertainment units, beds, bookcases, wardrobes, al fresco area cabinetry, bench seats and wine racks.
Times are changing and there are numerous challenges for many family based businesses as well as young cabinet makers starting out.
Acquiring the latest equipment, machinery and technology is an expensive outlay, resulting in many cabinet makers now choosing to specialise in a particular area.
ICM Geelong allows the sharing of resources and knowledge between cabinet makers. As well as showcasing product, ICM Geelong allows cabinet makers and suppliers to work together and pool resources to win contracts for larger domestic and commercial projects.
Through the association, two local cabinet makers recently collaborated to provide the cabinetry for a large apartment complex – working together allowed them to take on the magnitude of the job.
Mr Hammond said it was efforts like these that would help the future of the trade not only survive, but thrive.
“All ICM Geelong cabinet makers have to meet a certain standard to ensure that customers are getting the best out there.”
A new website, together with social media, helps new home builders and renovators seek inspiration for their project. People looking for cabinetry can visit the website and see a directory of local cabinet makers and what they have on offer.
The website also features ideas for both new homes and home improvement projects. Whether it’s a butler’s pantry in your new kitchen, storage solutions for the expanding family or couples wanting a luxury walk-in-robe “with all the bells and whistles”, the website features inspiration from cabinet makers and related suppliers.
The interest and potential of the ICM Geelong collaboration has brought on board supporters including Laminex Australia, Polytec, Lincoln Sentry, HVG Building Supplies, Home Appliances and, more recently, E&S Trading and Geelong Tiles and Bathware.
Local industry suppliers Sandman Stone, Newgrove benchtops, Cabinetmakers Choice and Geelong Tiles and Bathware are also supporting the initiative, together with the Gordon TAFE.
The Gordon TAFE is encouraging school leavers to consider a career in cabinet making and for all apprentices to see their apprenticeship through to completion.
”We want to educate the public on the importance of using independent cabinet makers to ensure the local industry remains,” Mr Hammond said.
“We want parents to see how important it is to support the trade so the jobs will be there for their sons and daughters.”
As appeared in the Echo, July 27, 2017
At work. Local cabinet maker Dave Saunders from DFS Cabinets is a proud ICM Geelong member. Pic: Cormac Hanrahan