Cabinet refacing enterprise
A local cabinet refacer has recently been honored with a pair of national awards for his work around the Storm Lake area, the latest accolades for a business that has served homes in 10 counties in northwest Iowa for a decade.
Shannon Kelly, the owner of the Kitchen Solvers franchise in Storm Lake, was presented with a sales award and a longevity honor from the national company, which has more than 120 franchise outlets around the country. Kelly and wife Michele, who runs the accounting side of the business, have also earned the prestigious Presidents Award, the Winners Circle Sterling, Winners Circle Crystal, and Personal Achievement Bronze awards for their work.
Kelly, who lives four miles east of Storm Lake with his wife and two sons, Chris and Nick, said he has refaced hundreds of cabinets and cupboards in the area, and said he thoroughly enjoys being able to both work with wood and make old kitchens appear brand new through his skills.
"I take a lot of pride in what I do," Kelly said. "When I'm done I want to have it looking just the way I would want my own kitchen to look."
Kelly originally began working at Iowa Office Supply, but caught the woodworking bug when he and his family moved to their current house in the country more than 10 years, a relocation that required Kelly to put in time and effort to update and remodel much of the inside of the residence. The switch in scenery gave Kelly the inspiration to switch careers as well, as he found out he had a gift for being able to work with wood and reface kitchens.
"When we moved into a new house there was a lot of remodeling work that had to be done, and I began to reface the cupboards and cabinets and other areas piece by piece, and I gained a lot of experience that way," Kelly said. "I really enjoyed being able to do that, so it really was a natural progression into this. It really did fall into my lap."
Kelly begins each project by measuring the length and width of the cabinets he must reface beforehand, and then brings the pre-varnished wood to each home to install on the objects. After removing the previous faces of each cabinet, he then builds each door and drawerfront with new oak or cherry lumber before installing the pieces onto the existing cabinet. The process is one that aims to give the cupboard a new and fresh look without having to install a new frame, something Kelly said can help him start and finish each job within a day's time.
"I usually start everything at around 6 a.m. and then I'm there until about 8 p.m. at night, so it's nice for the family to have everything done in a pretty short amount of time," Kelly said. "It's quick and there's not a lot of mess either, because I'm not tearing out anything or having to make a whole new frame at all. That is something that I've found that people seem to like a lot as well."
While Kelly uses the same types of products for most of his projects, he said there can be a number of variables to consider in every house, particularly in older homes which have cabinets that were built without any standardized lengths or widths, something he said made those jobs a little more difficult.
"It can be challenging at times," Kelly said. "There are a lot of differences between older cabinets, because you might have one cabinet that's one size and another next to it that's another size, and that comes about just because there wasn't any standardization at all. The differences are what makes the job interesting though, because you can really get the individual feel for each cabinet in each home."
Many of Kelly's clients hail from cities such as Storm Lake, Newell and Cherokee, but he travels to homes located within a 90-minute radius from his rural Storm Lake residence. He said most of his projects run between $3,000-$6,000 depending on how many cabinets need to be redone and what type of wood is desired for the work.
Kelly said he intends to continue his trade for many more years, and said he hopes customers are able to enjoy the fruits of his labor in their kitchens in the future.
"I love woodworking, and this is something that is really fun for me to do," Kelly said. "I have a great time doing this."