What inspired you to start CabAve Kitchens?
Coming from the Caves Family lumberyard, we had the opportunity to do lots of different types of projects. From building stairs to replacement window casing, there was a huge assortment of projects that we would work on. But Jeff and I really liked doing kitchens the most because they are bigger projects – you can always take a lot of pride in transforming a space for someone. Taking an old kitchen and turning it into something that’s just right for that family is a more rewarding type of project than doing window repairs. We took the business in that direction because we enjoyed it – simple as that. The whole reason we started CabAve was because we wanted people to have a more “a la carte” way of purchasing their cabinetry, countertops, appliances, flooring, etc. instead of having to get everything strictly under one place. We wanted them to have a broad array of choices and be able to get the absolute best deal they possibly could.
What do you enjoy most about running your business?
Making people’s lives better. It sounds corny because it’s just a kitchen. It’s not like we’re curing cancer. But having a kitchen that’s super functional and beautiful, every time someone walks into it, they let out a sigh of relief and say, “I just love this kitchen.” And it’s really exciting to grow and open our first CabAve Sample Center in Canandaigua very soon. We have such a great crew of dedicated people that make it all possible. They really put so much care into every single project.
What is the best part about owning and operating a business in the Finger Lakes Region?
I feel like we have really nice people here. It’s interesting because we have people who live here all year round, but then there’s also people who have a wonderful lake house to come to seasonally. It’s a good mixture of people you get to talk to. Plus, the local businesses around here are always supporting one another. It’s just a great place to be in!
Do you have a favorite recent project that you completed?
That’s so unfair, it’s too hard to choose just one. But if I have to, it’s probably one of the wine rooms we recently completed. These homeowners were so excited about it and had waited so long. We designed it, our Caves Millwork Cabinetry brand built it, it was installed, and the homeowners were just absolutely thrilled with how it turned out. It looks amazing, it stores all their stuff, and it’s such a proud showpiece for them. So, it was fun being a part of that.
What are some of your latest challenges, especially with supplies and materials?
Things are definitely getting back to normal but cabinet lead times are longer than we’ve ever been used to, and that is painful. At least when the cabinet suppliers tell us they’re going to deliver, we actually get the cabinetry. That said, some great things have come out of these latest challenges. We have been able to offer online video meetings. And we have even had some people tell us that if we didn’t have that option, they wouldn’t have done their project this year. It was challenging at first, but we’ve taken those challenges and turned them into company wins.