LAURYSEN KITCHENS

Thriving family-owned and -operated businesses are becoming increasingly rare in the global economy. Yet Laurysen Kitchens Ltd. (Laurysen Kitchens) is the exception to this rule. Located in Stittsville, Ontario, Laurysen Kitchens is a family company that has been manufacturing cabinetry since 1970. Its major customers include many large home builders in Ottawa, as well as local retail consumers and renovators. In addition, the company has an extensive network of 40 active dealers—ranging from Ottawa to Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie—all of which sell its products.

The Laurysens are confident that their company will continue to grow, while still maintaining the family culture that underpins their success.

History

Laurysen Kitchens was founded in 1970 by John and Adri Laurysen in their small garage. Having immigrated to Canada from Holland in 1960, the Laurysens were looking to leverage their experience in cabinet making in order to support their new family. In 1972, the Laurysens moved to the company’s current location, and by 1987, that production facility had expanded to 40,000 square feet. With state-of-the-art equipment, a growing number of employees, and a reputation for quality in the Ottawa area, Laurysen Kitchens was one of the most promising businesses in the region.

Then, on August 4, 1987, the entire facility burnt to the ground. Despite the tragedy, the Laurysens were determined to keep the business running and immediately began to construct a new facility on the same spot. That rebuilt facility is now 55,000 square feet and the business has grown to employ 128 people.

Today, Laurysen Kitchens is run by five members of the Laurysen family. Bill and Caroline, John and Adri’s children, are both vice presidents, along with Caroline’s husband Giuseppe. They are joined by the third generation of Laurysens, Corey and Michael, who are both heavily involved in the business. Together they continue to build the firm’s reputation for expertise, accountability, and longevity at levels only possible at a family-owned and -operated business like Laurysen Kitchens.

Performance

While there are many aspects of Laurysen Kitchens that make it successful, one of the ways it differentiates itself from competitors is through its clear span production facility. After the fire in 1987, the Laurysens had the chance to design a new manufacturing facility according to their exact specifications. They decided to spend slightly more for a clear span design because it allows for no internal support posts. This structure enables Laurysen Kitchens to rearrange its equipment whenever, and in whichever way, the plant managers see fit, so the company can stay extremely flexible and effective in its production process.

Having a flexible production process and facility proved to be crucial when Laurysen Kitchens completely revamped the way it manufactures roughly six years ago. The traditional way production kitchens and bathrooms were manufactured was to produce thousands of identical parts and build up a large inventory. With longer lead times and a less responsive supply chain, this was necessary in order to produce the desired product in a reasonable time frame. However, as consumers began to demand more customization and suppliers improved their responsiveness, the Laurysens realized they needed to offer more personalized products.

Accordingly, Laurysen Kitchens switched to producing batch sizes of one for individualized products. This change drastically reduced its inventory of raw materials and redirected much more effort towards optimizing the production process. As Caroline notes, the young minds at Laurysen Kitchens, like Michael and Corey, have been working hard at this initiative and are excited by the change. The team that includes Christian Slanina, Brent Toop and Lindsay Buckingham has installed new production software and equipment to coordinate the new logistical challenges. The benefits of the change are not only in cost reduction and customer satisfaction, but also in data analytics, as managers are able to glean a plethora of data from the entire production process.

Another factor critical to the success of Laurysen Kitchens is its ability to stay on top of market trends. Both John and Caroline are past presidents of the Greater Ottawa Homebuilders’ Association and the Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Association, and work hard to stay involved with similar organizations so that the company always has a finger on the pulse of the industry. Bill is past president of the Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Association and Giuseppe is past president of the Greater Ottawa Homebuilders’ Association. The company also attends trade shows across the world. Recently, it attended the world-famous EuroCucina show in Milan. At the same time, as Caroline explains, being involved with stakeholders at the local level is crucial to stay on top of market trends, which is why Laurysen Kitchens maintains close relationships with its suppliers and customers.

Challenges

If Laurysen Kitchens’ misfortune in 1987 proved anything, it is that the company is resilient in the face of adversity. Despite the tragic fire, the passing of family members, and the daily challenges involved in running a business, Laurysen Kitchens has kept fighting and come out on top. Yet one of the biggest challenges that the company continues to face are attracting qualified workers.

The company’s team of 128 employees consists of individuals with a variety of skillsets—engineers, computer experts, designers, labourers, hands-on woodworkers, and more—and each employee brings their own unique contribution to the business. However, attracting people to a manufacturing company in Ottawa is not always easy. Laurysen Kitchens is addressing this by focusing more on employee recruitment. In fact, it recently hired its first human resources person in the company’s history.

Caroline emphasizes that just because the company is doing things one way today does not mean it will be doing the same thing tomorrow, so everyone must be ready to adapt to future trends.

When asked if the Laurysens were worried about any of the challenges ahead, Caroline’s answer was a resounding “no.” The company was built on adversity and it is always open to (and indeed, excited by) new challenges. Moreover, Caroline emphasizes that just because the company is doing things one way today does not mean it will be doing the same thing tomorrow, so everyone must be ready to adapt to future trends.

Prospects

In the future, Laurysen Kitchens will continue becoming more environmentally friendly. The company prides itself on offering water-based finishes for most of its products and making a conscious commitment to becoming environmentally sustainable.

Laurysen Kitchens prides itself on offering water-based finishes for most of its products and making a conscious commitment to becoming environmentally sustainable.

Another significant opportunity involves leveraging computers and other Industry 4.0 technologies to improve the manufacturing process. Everyone at Laurysen Kitchens is adjusting to the production-style shift implemented six years ago, and motivated to keep exploring similarly interesting opportunities. The team is currently looking at adding an inventory management machine and moving a few things around in the factory. Laurysen Kitchens has also opened an additional 23,000-square-foot facility in Carleton Place, west of Ottawa, which houses its countertop department and equipment for increased capacity and testing new products.

The Laurysens are confident that their company will continue to grow, while still maintaining the family culture that underpins their success. They encourage anyone interested in a new kitchen or bathroom to visit their showroom in Stittsville, where a member of their family can answer any questions you may have.

For more information visit their website.

Company Profile

Company Description

Overview

Laurysen Kitchens Ltd. is a kitchen, bathroom, cabinet, and vanities manufacturer located in Stittsville, Ontario. It houses a 55,000 square foot facility with state-of-the-art technology to service customers in Canada and the United States. Since its inception it has been family-owned and -operated, and the business is currently run by the second and third generations of the Laurysen family. Its major customers include all of the biggest home builders in Ottawa, local retail consumers, renovators, and customers across Ontario who purchase its products through its extensive dealership network.

Key Facts

Website

  • https://www.laurysenkitchens.com/

Headquarters:

  • 2415 Carp Road, Stittsville, ON, K2S 1B3

Facilities:

  • 55,000 square feet in Stittsville

  • 23,000 additional square feet of manufacturing space in Carleton Place

Executives:

  • Bill Laurysen – Vice President of Operations

  • Caroline Castrucci – Vice President of Administration

  • Giuseppe Castrucci – Vice President of Sales / Marketing

  • Corey Laurysen – Special Projects and Order Processing

  • Michael Laurysen – Plant Manager

  • Christian Slanina – Production Manager

  • Brent Toop – Production Manager

  • Mike Mouat – Controller

  • Roni Lester – Human Resources

  • Steve Hnatyshyn – Sales Manager

  • Don Waites – Ontario Dealer Representative

Year Established:

  • 1970

Number of Employees:

  • 128

Revenues:

  • Roughly $20 million annually

NAICS Code

  • 321919 – Other Millwork

Products

  • Kitchens

  • Bathrooms

  • Vanities

  • Closets

  • Drawers

  • Cabinets

  • Various finishes to choose from

  • It offers exceptional design and customer service as well

Customers

  • New home builders in the Ottawa area

  • Individual consumers looking for new kitchens or bathrooms in the Ottawa area

  • Those doing renovations of their homes in the Ottawa area

  • Those purchasing from one of its forty active dealers spread out across Ontario

  • One customer in Chicago

Markets/Exports

  • 98.5% of revenue comes from within Canada

  • One client in Chicago that accounts for roughly 1.5% of annual revenue

Skills and Educational Needs

  • Skills:

    • 45+ years of experience manufacturing kitchens and bathrooms

    • Efficiency and value

    • Accountability, which is earned from being a family business

    • Longevity

    • Strong culture of family and quality products

  • Education:

    • Hire many engineers and skilled trades workers

    • Hire individuals from woodworking programs at Conestoga College and Algonquin College

    • Background in woodworking or production not necessary but some individuals have graduated from related programs

History

The company began in 1970 as “John Laurysen Custom Cabinets” in a small garage with 1200 square feet. In 1972 it relocated to its current location and the production facility grew to 45,000 square feet. Then, in 1987, the facility burnt to the ground and the company had to restart from scratch. It was shortly renamed to Laurysen Kitchens Ltd. and today the production facility is 55,000 square feet and the company employs 128 people.

Competitive Environment

Competitors

  • Deslaurier Custom Cabinets

  • Potvin Construction

  • Ottawa Valley Kitchens

  • MR Kitchens

  • Theo Mineault

Government Programs

  • Municipal interactions

  • SRED

  • Received funding for new equipment

  • Eastern Ontario Development Fund (particularly helpful after the fire in 1987)

SWOT Analysis

  • Strengths

    • Flexible production process

    • Able to manufacture in batch sizes of one

    • 45+ years of experience

    • Strong brand recognition

    • Integrating state of the art technology

    • Family business with a strong dedication to customer service

    • Strong, lasting relationship with home builders and suppliers

  • Challenges

    • Attracting qualified workers

    • Budgeting for and controlling fluctuating hydro costs

    • Adjusting to the new production process

  • Opportunities

    • Expand environmentally-friendly product offerings

    • Leverage Industry 4.0 technologies and processes

    • Continue updating plant equipment and staying at the cutting-edge of kitchen manufacturing

    • Continue refining the production process

Performance

Awards

  • Laurysen Kitchens Ltd. has won over 70 awards for kitchen design, bathroom design, and exceptional customer service. Some of the notable ones include:

  • Houzz

    • Best of Houzz 2018: Service

    • Best of Houzz 2017: Design

    • Houzz 100K+ Saves (for 100,000 or more saves of our photos to user ideabooks)

    • Best of Houzz 2016: Design

    • Best of Houzz 2015: Design

    • Best of Houzz 2015: Service

    • Best of Houzz 2014: Design

    • Best of Houzz 2014: Service

    • You can see our awards on our Houzz profile page.

  • NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association Awards)

    • 2017 NKBA Design Excellence Awards

      • Caroline Castrucci

        • 1st Place Winner Traditional/Classic Kitchen Group A

        • 2nd Place Winner Traditional/Classic Kitchen Group D

        • 1st Place Winner Other Rooms in the House

      • Wael Bakr

        • 1st Place Winner Contemporary/Modern Kitchen Group A

        • 2nd Place Winner Contemporary/Modern Bathroom Group B

      • Elnaz Shahrokhi

        • 1st Place Winner Look for Less

      • Jinan Al-Ani

        • 1st Place Winner Creative Concept

    • 2016 NKBA Design Excellence Awards

      • Wael Bakr

        • 1st Place Winner Traditional Kitchen Group B

      • Natasha Nash

        • 1st Place Winner Traditional Kitchen Group A

    • 2015 NKBA Design Excellence Awards

      • Wael Bakr

        • 1st Place Winner People’s Choice Award – Kitchen

        • 1st Place Winner People’s Choice Award – Bathroom

        • 1st Place Winner Traditional Kitchen Group B

      • Natasha Nash

        • 1st Place Winner Other Rooms in the House

      • Heather Tardioli

        • 1st Place Winner Kitchen Classic/Traditional Price Group B

      • Elnaz Shahrokhi

        • 2nd Place Winner Contemporary Kitchen Group A

    • 2014 NKBA Design Excellence Awards

      • Wael Bakr

        • 1st Place Winner The Look for Less – Kitchen

        • 2nd Place Winner Contemporary Kitchen Group A

      • Natasha Nash

        • 1st Place Winner People’s Choice Award

        • 2nd Place Winner Traditional Kitchen Group A

      • Paula Moxon

        • 1st Place Winner Traditional Kitchen Group A

    • 2013 NKBA Design Excellence Awards

      • Wael Bakr

        • 1st Place Winner People’s Choice Awards – Kitchen

        • 1st Place winner Kitchen Traditional Group A

      • Heather Tardioli

        • 2nd Place Best New Designer

    • NKBA Vision Awards Ottawa

      • 2010 – Runner-Up People’s Choice Award

  • Homestars

  • Greater Ottawa Chamber of Commerce

    • 2004 – Midsize Business of the Year GOLD Award

  • Consumer’s Choice Award “Gold” – 20 years!

    • 2017 – Best Kitchen Designers and Distributor

    • 1997 – 2016 – Best Kitchen Manufacturer

  •  Faces Award

    • 2018 – Favourite Interior Design Company

  •  Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association Design Awards

    • 2016 – Contemporary Custom Kitchen 180 sq.ft or Less (1st Place)

    • 2016 – Contemporary Custom Kitchen 181 – 240 sq.ft. (1st Place)

    • 2016 – Traditional Kitchen (1st Place)

    • 2011 – Production Kitchen Under 200 sq. ft. (1st Place)

    • 2007 – Production Bathroom (1st Place)

    • 2007 – Production Kitchen Under 125 sq. ft. (1st Place)

    • 2004 – Production Kitchen Over 125 sq.ft. (Finalist)

    • 2004 – Custom Kitchen Under 200 sq.ft. (Finalist)

    • 2003 – Production Kitchen Over 125 sq.ft. (1st Place)

    • 2003 – Production Bathroom (1st Place)

    • 2003 – Custom Kitchen Over 200 sq.ft. (Honorable Mention)

    • 1995 – Production Kitchen Under 125 sq.ft. (1st Place)

    • 1994 – Production Kitchen (Finalist)

    • 1994 – Custom Kitchen 250 sq.ft. And Over (1st Place)

    • 1994 – Custom Kitchen Under 250 sq.ft. (Finalist)

    • 1993 – Custom Kitchen 201 sq.ft. To 300 sq.ft. (1st Place)

    • 1993 – Custom Kitchen “One of a Kind” (1st Place)

    • 1993 – Custom Kitchen (1st Place)

    • 1993 – Production Kitchen (1st Place)

    • 1993 – Custom Kitchen 301 sq.ft. And Over (1st Place)

    • 1993 – Custom Kitchen 200 sq.ft. Or Less (Finalist)

    • 1990 – Custom Kitchen “One of a Kind” Renovation (1st Place)

    • 1989 – Custom Bathroom “One of a Kind” (1st Place)

    • 1988 – Kitchen Category (Finalist)

    • 1988 – Custom Bathroom (1st Place)

    • 1987 – Custom Kitchen (1st Place)

    • 1987 – Custom Kitchen “One of a Kind” (Honorable Mention 2nd Place)

    • 1986 – Custom Kitchen (Honorable Mention 2nd Place)

    • 1986 – Custom Kitchen over 200 sq.ft.(1st Place)

    • 1986 – Custom Kitchen under 200 sq.ft. (1st Place)

    • 1986 – Production Kitchen (1st Place)

  • Greater Ottawa Home Builders Sales & Marketing Awards

    • 2001 – Best Sales Showroom (1st Place)

    • 2000 – Best Brochure (1st Place)

    • 2000 – Sales Team of the Year (1st Place)

  • Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association

    • 2008 – Fred Nielson Award

    • 1998 – Enbridge – Consumers Gas Hall of Fame Award

    • 1986 – Fred Nielson Award

    • 1985 – Fred Nielson Award

  • Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Association

    • 1986 – Recognition for the outstanding contributions to the Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Industry

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