With its proprietary, pre-manufactured staircase system, Signature Company takes care of craftsmanship so that its customers do not have to. The firm focuses on making its clients’ lives much easier by providing them with custom kitchen cabinets, staircases, and railings. Its quality is such that even seasoned cabinetmakers have a hard time matching it in the field.
With its headquarters in Haymarket, Virginia, Signature Company serves its clients from four locations, including a 100-000-square-foot facility in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and a 15,000-square-foot facility in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where custom staircases are created.
It also has a distribution center in Hanover, Maryland. Signature pieces from its fabrication facility set itself and its construction partners apart from the competition. Adding one or two of these pieces to a kitchen gives even prefabricated layouts a fresh, custom-made look that every modern homeowner wants.
The company partners with an array of industry professionals, counting building suppliers, commercial builders, remodelers, architects, and even owner-builders among its clientele. While its custom-made and prefabricated kitchen cabinets are very popular, it is particularly well-known for its staircases as these solve multiple fabrication challenges in one easy solution.
Staircases and railings typically add days and sometimes even weeks onto building schedules due to damage during construction, preparation, or finishing. Not only do Signature Company staircases arrive beautifully finished, but they also do so on time. This makes this company in high demand.
“What we can do in the factory can’t be done on the job site,” says Daniel Lombardozzi, President. As builders find it increasingly hard to come by skilled craftsmen, the company is making it easy to include its pre-manufactured products in modern and traditional-styled homes.
“Installing our products doesn’t take master craftsmen. This is an important aspect of our business that we invest in to simplify things [for our customers],” Daniel adds. And of course, with ease comes safety, which is another advantage when installing Signature Company’s products.
Its patent was developed over many years as it gathered experience and customer feedback to create the ultimate staircase system for a changing market. “The concept isn’t a new thing, but the way that we apply it to new home construction really adds a tremendous amount of value to our customers’ [projects],” says Daniel. As with all great products, Signature Company’s work has become known in the industry through word-of-mouth.
The company began as a laminate countertop fabricator. The founder, Anthony J. Porto, sold a fifty percent stake in The Laminate Company, Inc. to Daniel’s father, John Lombardozzi, in 1991. By now, it was known as Signature Kitchens and had become a distributor for several important manufacturers in the countertop and cabinetry market. In 1995, Lombardozzi, Senior took over the remaining half of the company. John Lombardozzi purchased RJC Industries Inc., a manufacturer of staircases, in 1996, followed by three more acquisitions a year later.
The company saw significant expansion over the next decade and began evolving into a custom manufacturer when the recession of 2008 forced its clients to start bypassing its distribution services and going straight to manufacturers in a bid to save money.
The recession allowed the company leadership to reassess Signature’s direction and brought about the addition of its custom manufacturing capabilities. It also became clear during this time that fast growth for its own sake was not a reasonable goal. Instead, the company opted for strategic growth through good partners and vendors. It also started carefully selecting its personnel. During this time, it went from over 250 staff to 50 as it learned that it could survive on a leaner, more disciplined organizational style.
Today, the company employs over 190 industry experts, some of whom are master craftsmen with over thirty years’ experience in cabinetry, stairs and railings. It also has a team of experienced kitchen designers, field representatives, and account managers who handle work and relationships in the field. Lombardozzi insists that it is the dedication of these people that has allowed the company to grow and is the key to its longevity.
Its flat company hierarchy contributes to a can-do attitude and spirit of loyalty throughout the organization. Many family members work here, but Daniel was initially reluctant to join the company. However, during a short stint he did here while the company plotted its future with the help of a consulting firm, he fell in love with its culture and its people.
“We think [having family work together] is a good thing because it [becomes] an enjoyable place to work. The business is a really powerful platform to do good for our employees. We care a lot,” he says.
Signature believes that its success directly translates into greater prosperity for its customers and its employees. For this reason, profitability is at the top of its priorities list. With its strong financial position and no debt, this is a company that is ready to take on any economic situation with great dexterity.
The company is known for putting sufficient processes in place to ensure a smooth flow throughout every project, giving it consistency in everything from manufacturing to installation. It also prides itself on ongoing investment in technology and manufacturing equipment. It does not just keep up with technological trends; instead, the company takes the lead in creating its own computer programs. To make this possible, it has two programmers on its staff as well as a third-party programming partner that assists in creating proprietary software built to suit its unique needs.
“We feel that our technology is one of our competitive advantages. Our shop floor is pretty much run from computers, so we eliminate paperwork. It [also] allows us to scale well and execute on our mission,” says Daniel.
This gives the company immense freedom to design exactly what clients want in an ever-evolving market. It is currently working on upgrading its programs to secure its technological relevance for the long haul.
The company’s love of contributing to beautiful homes extends to its charity work, where it is a regular contributor to Habitat for Humanity, as well as HomeAid in Northern Virginia, an organization that provides much-needed homes for the homeless. It supports Operation Finally Home, a group that provides homes for American war veterans, their families, and their widows without the burdens that come with owning a mortgaged property. The company also supports Serve Our Willing Warriors (SOWW) yet another group that offers necessary support to military personnel and veterans. In addition, it helps Young Life, a group that endeavors to help teens find and keep their direction in life.
There has been a rise in the property markets of the District of Columbia and the surrounding area, and Lombardozzi notes a surge in townhouse construction as well as properties that are being redeveloped. The result is an increase in affordable housing that is creating more opportunities for those in the construction industry.
With this in mind, the company hopes to expand its manufacturing presence further into the northern New Jersey and Philadelphia markets, and is also looking at areas to expand further south in Richmond or elsewhere in North Carolina.