Invest In Advice, Reap The Benefits

Sandra Wood

Adora Kitchens has been proudly operating out of the same location in Coaldale, Alberta, for 40 years! With 45 employees, this company has grown from working in just over 6,000 sq ft. to now operating in 30,000 sq ft. They serve a primarily local market within a three-hour radius of their shop. 

Their customers are contractors and private consumers, and they also work with one distributor. While the founder of the company retired a few years back, the current three owners have been with the company for 38 years (Ken), 34 years (Pete), and 23 years (Rob)! 

Adora has built a solid reputation and is known for providing on-time and after-sale service and quality. As Ken Anton says, “We build anything from basic spec units to executive custom homes.” 

One day, Anton called CKCA about something, and we talked about the industry. Anton shared the story of how he benefitted from hiring an external consultant. While sometimes business owners may or may not feel they get value, Anton couldn’t say enough positive things about Adora’s consulting experience and even told us that to this day, the company reaps the benefits from it.

Selecting the consultant 

The partners interviewed a couple of consultants to help them with the project.

“We didn’t need a person to tell us how to build cabinets; we needed someone who could help us run a business. We ended up selecting a guy whose main difference was he would work shoulder to shoulder with us. The company’s day-to-day operations went on as usual because they still had to produce for their clients. The consultant was always available to answer questions, challenge us, and guide us. There were many after-hours spent on projects.” 

Should to shoulder 

The consultant worked with Adora for two years. During that time, the consultant worked with the company almost every day, about four hours a day, with an in-house office working with managers and department employees to help set up processes. It was like having another employee in-house. They were on board from the very beginning.

“We knew that we needed help, and the consultant was very knowledgeable. He was in business for a long time with a few large corporations which usually have these systems figured out.” 

The outcome 

For Anton and his partners, the consultant helped them to develop so many systems for all areas of their business office and shop. While it’s been ten years since the consultant worked with Adora, they still see the benefits.

“The advice we got from the consultant is still relevant today. We learned how to manage a business, manage employees, and make proper business decisions based on facts and data. Doing the drill (write it down, work it out). Not making emotional or compassionate decisions.”

Adora still uses the same recommended processes and adjusts them to keep them current. Now that their systems are better managed, there’s been an increase in profit and morale. 

Main takeaways 

So what were the takeaways from the consultant? According to Anton, it’s clear that the main takeaway is always to follow three words in this order: Process. Training. Behaviour. 

  1. Do we have a process? Yes.
  2. Did we train the right people? Yes. 
  3. Now, look at the behaviour of management to maintain and the employee to follow. 

Management and employees are responsible for all three. Any issue can relate to this.

Any regrets? 

As you can imagine, hiring a consultant for two years is a significant financial undertaking. We asked Anton if he had any regrets about the experience overall.

“We have no regrets at all. The main factor is that the consultant was here to guide us. We wouldn’t need him if we knew all the business equations that we learned from our consultant. We feel like we took a business management class right here in our own classroom.” 

Looking ahead 

“The future of independent shops will always be there. Some customers are looking for custom variety, quality, and service. If you can provide them, you will always be busy. 

We are always looking at new ways to improve our processes and efficiencies for quality by technology and machinery. We started on a road map for succession planning to keep all owners aware of what the future looks like for each owner.” 

Happy 40th anniversary to Adora Kitchens & Cabinetry! We wish you continued success and look forward to watching you evolve and build beautiful spaces for many years!

Sandra Wood is the Secretary and Executive Director for the CKCA. She enjoys “connecting the dots” and facilitating strong networking opportunities to engage members. She believes associations are about fostering strong business relationships fueled by an empathic and sound business approach.

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