Dynamic Kitchens was founded in 1975 in London, Ontario, operating then as Jem Dor Woodcraft. In 2012, the company was purchased by Drew and Shelly Pelc, who renamed it Dynamic Kitchens. Now employing 27 people, the company sits on just over 10,000 sq. ft. of space where it houses its production facility, showroom, and offices.
Dynamic Kitchens produces, on average, eight to ten full custom kitchens per month and are heavily focused on retail, which accounts for about 70% of their business. The other 30% is made up of a few select builders, renovators, and designers with whom they have had longstanding relationships.
To take a deeper dive into this company, we spoke with Kevin Bowers General Manager, with almost 30 years in senior leadership roles, including over 20 years in the cabinet industry.
CKCA: What sets you apart from the competition?
Bowers: Our combined knowledge and how we apply it. Our lifetime warranty is also fully transferable. This includes all lighting and accessories. If the manufacturer’s warranty is not lifetime, it is bumped up to lifetime with us. We don’t use inferior products of any kind. Top-of-the-line hinges, drawer slides, paint and stain, and quality board materials are all part of our built-to-last-a-lifetime promise.
Our whole staff is as passionate as the owners. When you apply all that knowledge and understanding, you get a superior product, no corners cut, and a sales experience to match the product. We have all been in the industry for many years; we listen and take every concern a client has expressed about their existing kitchens and then design a product that addresses each of those issues; that’s the Dynamic experience.
CKCA: What are some of the challenges you face?
Bowers: Material and labour shortages and skyrocketing costs are our biggest obstacles at the moment. Costs such as taxes, bank fees, interest, WSIB, and the list goes on.
There is a real problem with getting today’s youth into the trades. It doesn’t have the allure of other occupations. Kids at high school need to learn about trades and the opportunities to earn an excellent living – rewarding and different each day. With materials shortages and costs, the one thing in my career that stands out is the challenges we had with COVID and the global supply chain disruptions. It forces you to look at things differently. It makes you change and evolve, and it always makes you better for it. Things we might not have looked at materials-wise in the past are now part of our standard materials list, and we have an even better product now than we did two years ago.
I am also concerned about the number of products flooding in from other parts of the world. Substandard, cheap products coming into Canada stain the industry and undermine its integrity.
CKCA: What are some of the solutions you have applied, and how have these helped?
Bowers: We have worked with our suppliers to find new and, in some cases, better solutions. We have grown our supplier network, and by adding new suppliers, we have been able to source different alternatives for the better, but never less than our standards. There are no current solutions readily available for the labour shortage. It has made our current workload challenging and has become a significant barrier to growth. We have the workload to add another shift, which would employ another 11 people, but we have been unable to fill the necessary positions.
CKCA: What do you think government can do to help address some of these issues?
Bowers: Many programs, in my opinion, are designed not to be inclusive. SMEs drive the economy in Canada, but the focus and programs always seem to be for the automotive sector and companies that export. My absolute least favourite — automation! Automation eliminates jobs. I would much rather have more staff than more machines. It’s critically important to support the communities where we work and sell. Not too long ago, I visited a factory that had just received a $10 million grant from the government. I was so disappointed in that visit as the money did not add jobs; it eliminated jobs and replaced them with automation. This company has a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility that runs completely automated, with just 15 people on the floor to ensure the machines don’t stop.
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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 foster strong business relationships fueled by an empathic and sound business approach.