Kitchen cabinetry is one of those “old school industries that was a bit slower to adopt an e-commerce strategy to compete against traditional brick and mortar showrooms or big box stores.
Traditionally, homeowners would have a local design specialist come to their house with samples and catalogs, and the space measurements would be done on site. This is still a very popular method for those consumers who want their hands held throughout the entire process. But in most cases, they will pay a premium for this service.
In 2009, Chris Larsen, now CEO of Cabinets.com, thought of a different way to sell cabinetry… exclusively online. “Who in their right mind would spend $15,000 for cabinetry on a website they’ve never heard of, on cabinets they’ve never seen, and with no refunds accepted on semi-custom made-to-order products?” many had asked. Chris teamed up with Benjamin Gordon, now CTO of Cabinets.com, to create a brand new startup website called Kitchen Resource Direct, where online customers would do just that, many times over.
“We had to create a website that was very trustworthy for customers to place orders using their credit cards to make extremely large e-commerce purchases,” Benjamin explains. “We accomplished this through an amazing user experience online, as well as offering free design help over the phone and email. Having our professional designers on staff to create 3D kitchen renderings, along with detailed quotes, gave the customers the reassurance they needed to complete their purchase.”
The original name “Kitchen Resource Direct” was chosen as Chris and Benjamin sat down at the Panera Bread on Howard Ave in Tampa.
“When you are bootstrapping your startup, $10 for a domain name is a great investment,” Chris explains. The company made the Inc. 5000 list in 2014 as Kitchen Resource Direct (#568) and continued their growth through SEO and PPC marketing strategies. Although great for online search, Kitchen Resource Direct was difficult to remember for word-ofmouth advertising.
“Even our families couldn’t remember the domain name KitchenResourceDirect.com,” Benjamin joked. So in late 2014, the company purchased the domain name Cabinets.com to further perpetuate their growth curve. An immediate impact was noticed in website sessions and brand awareness industry wide and they became one of the largest providers of cabinetry online.
Cabinets.com went on to win numerous awards for its fast growth. The company made the Inc. 500 list in 2015 and 2016, which ranks the top privately-owned companies by revenue growth, along with Top 10 rankings in Tampa both years as well.Other growth awards have included the Tampa Bay Business Journal Fast 50 (#4) and Florida Fast 100 (#9).
Chris and Benjamin are also proud University of Florida alumni and have won Gator100 awards for fastest growing Gator-owned businesses in 2015 (#4), 2016 (#4), and 2017 (#14).
Since hiring their first employee, Cabinets.com has instilled a strong company culture based on a set of Core Values and a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) that all strive towards achieving.
“Businesses evolve and innovations happen, but as long as we stay true to our core values, we should be headed in the right direction,” says Chris. “Our core values and amazing team are the back-bone of our growth.”