For 50 years, Bishop Cabinets has operated as a family-owned company that’s deeply rooted in both its relationships with others and in its faith, and has never faltered in its delivery of excellent service and cabinetry solutions at affordable prices.
This remains the driving force behind the operation today.
Located in Montgomery, Alabama, and serving east of the Mississippi River as well as into the state of Texas, the Bishop Cabinets family, which includes several blood relatives as well as employees and distributors alike, works hard to continuously improve, innovate, and expand what is possible in the market it serves.
As Vice President Eric Williams explains, “The Bishops have always treated their employees like family, and we treat our customers like family; they’re not a number. We get to know them and establish friendships. We take care of them because we recognize that we’re not successful if our customers aren’t. The family focus, with Christian faith at the core of it, is what has made us successful.”
Success in this regard also means offering semi-custom cabinetry at a fair price point. “We do a lot of customization, which sometimes lends itself for us to look like a higher-end company, but we’re not. We try to stay in that mid-price point level where most of the market is,” he shares.
This sentiment is echoed by President Jeff Gulledge. “We’re not trying to be the biggest company, we just consider ourselves a small family business. Everybody is part of our team, from the customer to the supplier. Helping our customers and making them successful is the only way to make Bishop Cabinets successful.”
Throughout the years, the market has changed but the principles upon which Bishop Cabinets was founded have remained the same. It remains a family-owned and oriented business that is committed to producing a quality product and relationships with its customers that last.
Keeping it personal
Part of the reason for this customer loyalty is the personalized service that Bishop Cabinets offers. When you call them on the phone you can be sure that you will reach a customer service representative, not a machine. This, along with its broad range of offerings, has been the secrets to the company’s success.
Whether they’re after a new look, an old feel, or a fresh trend, Bishop Cabinets can meet the most discerning customer’s needs and wants, from timeless designs to bold concepts, and contemporary vibes to traditional styles, with its broad range of offerings, finishes, and accessories.
For much of its history, Bishop Cabinets specialized in framed cabinetry, but evolved to include other specialties as the market warranted. This includes its more recent forays into inset cabinetry and European frameless designs, which remain a focus of the company.
“That line of cabinetry is becoming more and more popular, and we think we have a niche there with our closet systems and full-access cabinetry options, so we’re looking to expand that. That’s where we’re looking to grow in the next three years,” says Gulledge.
He continues, “We have the equipment and the people, so we’re really making it a focal point: let’s perfect that product and our processes so we can market and sell it with confidence and grow that side of the business.”
Innovation at the core
Bishop Cabinets has always stayed on the cutting edge of industry trends, which takes a commitment to innovation and product development. There’s no doubt that is one of the reasons that its name is on the radar of new homebuilders and the renovation market alike.
Williams offers some insight into how innovation has changed the company’s trajectory over time: “When paints and glazes started becoming popular in cabinets, we were in the forefront of our price point to make it available to the masses.”
This is possible only because of Bishop Cabinets’ sound financial position, the doing of founder Jim Bishop, Sr. early in the company’s history. His objective was to be debt-free, giving the company the financial strength to withstand market fluctuations.
“We’ve taken that to heart because we’ve seen what might have happened if we hadn’t had that in the past,” explains Gulledge, who worked with the company in high school and returned in the mid-1990s, so has experienced the ups and downs of the economy and seen for himself how well Bishop Cabinets withstood those market ebbs and flows.
It takes a team
Another calculated business decision that has served Bishop Cabinets well is hiring well. From the executive team to its manufacturing operations, there are many long-tenured employees who have spent decades supporting the company’s growth and success. This strong core group will do what it takes to get the job done for its distributors and customers who are relying on the quality and timely delivery of their orders. With their loyalty, they exemplify the winning family culture that has been implicit in Bishop Cabinets’ success.
That means that even the leadership team can be found on the manufacturing floor when needed, which not only ensures that orders meet deadlines, but that there are open lines of communication across every level of the company’s operations.
One of the concerns of the executive team is how to address matters of attrition given the slow trickle of skilled labor down the talent pipeline. Bishop Cabinets acts proactively in this vital matter, establishing new labor pipelines and developing talent from within.
“The generation that’s coming in today is not as interested in manufacturing; they want a desk or computer job or something like that, so we’re working with our human resources assistant to put together a program that targets high schools in our area,” says Gulledge. The company has boosted its efforts to share the opportunities that a career in manufacturing offers to local students through internships. The hope is that graduating seniors will recognize the well-paying and rewarding careers Bishop Cabinets can promise—but more than that, that they can discover a passion for this creative field of manufacturing while ensuring a good life for themselves and their families.
“We’re trying to find those people who fit in our organization that are dedicated to manufacturing and find enjoyment in it,” says Gulledge. “We want people to enjoy what they do because then they’re going to be better at it.”
Certainly, a great deal of effort is also being expended to develop talent from within. Lunch and Learns are a great way for the executive team to communicate important information to employees, but also to provide the rational for them to buy in and find pride in the work they do and the processes and craft that are needed. It also helps that Bishop Cabinets offers a profit-sharing plan three times a year to encourage performance.
“We let each department brainstorm; we get them to create the idea and processes, so it’s not us having to sell it to them, they own it. That’s where we’re headed with today’s workforce,” says Gulledge. “It’s a little different than it was 10 years ago. You have to come up with new ideas to get employees to want to own the product that’s passing through their hands.”
Success the simple way
When it comes to talent, innovation, and the latest trends in cabinetry, Bishop Cabinets stays at the forefront of the market by investing in its people, its equipment, and its potential. In the wake of several years of impressive growth, this is a well-chosen moment for Bishop Cabinets to reset and refocus on its processes and standards in the light of its commitment to delivering superb-quality cabinetry at an affordable price.
It’s a simple recipe for success, but it has served the Bishop family—both genealogical and extended—well for more than 50 years. And it looks likely to remain the foundation of the company’s success for another 50 or more.