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Demand for custom made cabinets continued to grow, even through the recession.

SUSAN MATHENY/MADRAS PIONEER - Taking a quick break from work at The Cabinet Shop are, from left, Dennis Hill, Alan Waldow, owner Lance Handsaker and Carmen Handsaker.
The Cabinet Shop, owned by Sue and Lance Handsaker, on Mill Street in Madras, was named the 13th fastest growing business in Central Oregon by "Cascade Business News" in its November spotlight feature on the top 20 regional businesses.

Lance Handsaker said his cabinet shop was nominated by Tena Jackson, Madras branch manager, of Columbia State Bank, which also sponsored the contest.

The rankings were based on the amount of business done between 2014 and 2016, and businesses had to provide proof of sales.

During that three-year period, The Cabinet Shop had a sales increase of 97 percent. Other winners included BASX Solutions and Humm Kombucha.

"A lot of the top 20 were connected to the housing or construction industry," Handsaker said, which picked up following the recession.

He opened The Cabinet Shop with a partner in 2008, and said the first year and a half was pretty slow. His partner wanted to close, but Handsaker liked the work and bought him out, then worked for a year by himself.

"The funny thing is, the years the contest judged on were actually slower for me than the previous years," he commented.

"In 2007, everything crashed – so we had nowhere to go but up," he said, adding, "I doubled my business every year during the recession."

In April 2015, Handsaker moved from a 1,800-square-foot shop in the Madras Industrial Park, next door to a 7,200-square-foot shop and hired his first employee.

"The following year, I hired a second employee, and now I have two full-time and one part-time employees," he said.

The biggest percent of his business is in Jefferson County, but The Cabinet Shop also makes custom-built cabinets and counters for customers in Sisters, Bend, Redmond, Bend, Silver Lake and Washougal, Washington.

He attributes the growth in business to customer service, quality work, and affordable pricing.

"We're a custom cabinet shop and have such a wide range of offerings, including wood cabinets, stained and painted cabinets, and laminate counter tops. And we build for what the customer wants, not for what we want to do," Handsaker said.

This month, he plans on getting a license to be able to install cabinets and countertops in people's homes, in addition to making them, which will require the hiring of another full-time employee.

The Cabinet Shop was the only Jefferson County business in the top 20 list; the rest were from Redmond and Bend.

"I was a little shocked at first, when I heard, and wondered if they didn't have many applicants. But after I found out there were a few hundred applicants, it made me feel pretty good," Handsaker said.

To view some of the products created by The Cabinet Shop, visit the website centraloregoncabinetshop.com. The shop, at 1950 NW Mill St., can be reached at 541-777-9736.

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