Three generations of Crafts have put the “craft” in Craft’s Custom Kitchens since the Rubyville, Ohio, business opened its doors in 1945.
Located in its original storefront along St. Rt. 139, the business has continued to thrive and grow in the nearly 70 years since Don Craft transitioned from selling other small handcrafted items to cabinets.
Don’s son Harold Craft, now 75, grew up working at the family business, building and installing cabinets and spent his adult life working side-by-side with his father. He took over the business’s ownership and operations in the mid 1970s.
“Certainly there is a great tradition of running the business well and treating people right,” said Kevin. “I have people come in the door, who we did their grandparent’s kitchen, we did their parent’s kitchen… I think that is very cool. It makes me want to work hard to maintain that legacy,” he added.
Today’s Craft’s Custom Kitchens provides customized designs for kitchens and the cabinets to go in it. While they continue to specialize in cabinetry for all types of rooms, including home offices, entertainment centers, bars, craft rooms, bathrooms and more, the company also offers a range of complimentary products including laminate, granite and Cambria® quartz countertops as well as sinks, faucets, and cabinetry hardware.
What has set them apart for decades is the attention to detail and personalized customer service that simply can’t be replicated by a big box store. “Here you are dealing with me from start to finish,” Kevin said.
From the moment customers step through the door, they are treated like friends. The Crafts provide free estimates with no obligation.
Kevin personally visits every home to take in the “feel” of the space and carefully measure it, whether it’s a remodel or a new construction project. Back at his office, Kevin then creates several layout options using sophisticated computer aided design (CAD) software.
“Everyone loves his designs,” said his wife Cindy, who has worked side-by-side with her husband since 1993 when the couple returned from Maryland to run the family business.
Kevin and Cindy were high school sweethearts who both graduated from Clay High School. They admit they “take the business home” with them each night – they live across the street in a home Don built. Each specializes in a different area of the business, making them a valuable team.
“We each work on our strengths and then we switch,” explained Kevin. The process gives their customers a man’s and a woman’s perspective, which can be invaluable if a couple has differing tastes or desires for a project.
Because of his engineering background, Kevin is drawn to the problem-solving aspects of layout and design. Before the cabinet business, he spent a decade working for the National Security Agency.
“I love those (customers) who say, ‘this is a difficult job,’” Kevin said, “and when I send a design to them they say, ‘Wow.’”
Cindy’s strength is choosing colors and hardware while adding stylized touches to projects. She thrives on the relationships and friendships she forges with customers. Creating a space inside someone’s home is a big responsibility, and they both get satisfaction from happy customers.
In addition to the couple and sister-in-law Marsha Richards, who works in the showroom part-time, the company employs three fulltime installers – Tim Reed, Matthew King and Brent Ward. The trio has more than 70 years of combined installation experience.
“We have builders who want us to do their installs because they have so much faith and confidence in our installers,” said Kevin.
The Crafts pride themselves on using American-made goods as much as possible. All the cabinetry offered by the company, including Schrock® and Dynasty by Omega™ lines, is manufactured in the United States. It’s laminate and Cambria quartz countertops are too.
Although the personalized attention and high-quality products Craft’s Custom Kitchens offers has not changed through the years, materials and trends have. The Crafts no longer build cabinets as Harold and Don once did, but they still construct custom laminate countertops in their workshop. The couple works hard to stay on top of modern trends, which have changed slowly over the decades.
Quartz countertops and cabinets with simple lines are popular now, they say, as opposed to granite and the cathedral style with glass door cabinetry that dominated the markets in earlier years. They attribute part of the change to the sluggish economy.
Along with new kitchen styles, there also are new approaches to attracting business these days. Under Kevin’s leadership, the business has embraced new technologies including adding a website and a Facebook page as well as having a presence on Angie’s List, Houzz.com and Pinterest, all allowing the business to expand its customer base.
They currently are remodeling their showroom and eventually may expand, but one thing will remain the same – they plan to keep doing what they are doing – offering high quality products and customized services.
As for the possibility of a fourth generation Craft owning the business, only time will tell, they say.
Their son Justin, 25, grew up in the workshop and although he now lives and works in Columbus, he returned home each summer to labor at the family craft while in college.