When one cabinet closes, another one opens

Throughout his years in the field doing residential and commercial cabinetry, Tom Dahms has built up a large list of clients. From dentist offices across the state, to car dealerships, banks and dance studios, Tom has just about done it all. And with over 30 years of experience, Tom can now add business owner to his resume.

While working at O.H. Ewert, a cabinet manufacturing company in Menomonee Falls, Tom began dreaming of owning his own business. After discussing it with Robert Schiebe, then-owner of O.H. Ewert, Robert offered to sell the company to Tom. After the deal was made, plans of renaming and transitioning O.H. Ewert into the company as it exists today, Lake Country Custom Cabinets LLC, began.

There was a lot to be done, but with the help of the Waukesha County Center for Growth, Tom was on the right path. By assisting Tom in writing out a business plan, the Center for Growth gave Tom general business strategies and helped him form a vision for the future of Lake Country Custom Cabinets. The Center for Growth also helped Tom with figuring out his financials. By introducing him to a new bank, he was able to get the funding he needed to get things running.

Although Tom will continue to serve his commercial clients, he plans to expand his residential base as well. This will better balance his client mix. Ideally, his mix of commercial to residential clients is 75/25 percent. Tom looks forward to building a great relationship and reputation for his company with business customers and homeowners alike.

In the future, Tom plans to hire a full-time marketing and sales person. In the past, O.H Ewert did not implement any marketing campaigns or do any advertising. All its clients were either repeat business or from word of mouth. Tom plans to invest in a website, marketing activities and advertising promotions. The benefits of doing this will expand his client base even more and incentivize existing customers to provide referrals.

On top of entering the world of marketing, Lake Country Custom Cabinets will also make a few more upgrades including new, more efficient equipment and software that will offer helpful services to its customers.

“Without the help and guidance of the Waukesha County Center for Growth, I’m not sure I would have had the same results,” said Tom. “I plan to continue using their services to take my business to the next level. I strongly encourage any small business looking to either start a business or grow their current business to use the services that the Waukesha County Center for Growth has to offer.”

With the cabinetry tools Tom has in his tool box and the business plan he put together, Lake Country Custom Cabinets has a very promising future.

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