S&W Cabinets: Small Business Success
By Meredith Jean Morris
Randy Snider knows how to take on a challenge and come out successful on the other side. The owner of S & W Cabinets Inc., located off of Dundee Rd. in Winter Haven, has been in business long enough to see the construction industry through numerous ups and downs. Through it all, he continues to provide his customers with a quality, custom product.
“We’ve always put out a good quality product,” Snider says. “We’ve been a high-quality minded business, and we try to do our best for our customers.”
It’s that quality of service that has kept S & W Cabinets in business since 1991.
“We have quite a few customers who have used us again and again,” he says. “We don’t really advertise much. We don’t have to; most of our business comes from word of mouth.
People are satisfied with what we do for them, and they tell their family, friends and neighbors about it.”
One of those many satisfied customers is Lake Wales’ Charlotte Lightsey.
“We first used them in our home, and were very pleased,” Lightsey says. “Even one of the owners came out to check the work. We could not have been happier.”
Lightsey says S & W Cabinets was recommended to her by her daughter, a Winter Haven homeowner.
“She used them first, and then, we used them,” Lightsey says. “We just built an office out back, well, it’s really a bunk house — we’re cattle people. Our cow workers stay out there. S & W put in all the cabinets. They really do great work.”
Snider’s quality product stems from a long background in building.
“I’ve basically been building things since I was a little kid,” he says.
His career started at Fleetwood Mobile Homes in Auburndale, building cabinets for manufactured homes, but in 1991, Snider was laid off during a recession.
“I had been building my tools at home, and I used my retirement money from Fleetwood to buy more,” Snider says. “I lived with my mom, and I started making custom cabinets out of my garage.”
Coincidentally, another former Fleetwood builder lived in the same neighborhood, heard Snider’s saws running, and the two struck up a partnership.
“He had been a long-time friend, and he was laid off from the Haines City Fleetwood location,” Snider says. “He said he heard my saws going, and we decided to become partners.”
S & W Cabinets’ first location was off of Lake Hamilton Drive, but in 1993, the business moved to its current location on Dundee Road.
The size of the business has fluctuated over the years, growing to a height of 27 employees, down to three during another recession. Currently, Snider has nine employees.
“It’s about as big as I want to get it now,” he says. “It’s comfortable enough to make money, and still serve my customers as best as I can.”
The long history in Polk County has allowed Snider to serve the same customers multiple times, as they have come back for repeat business throughout the years.
“We see repeat business all the time,” he says. “Pretty much when someone uses us once, they will come back again with their second, third, fourth, fifth house.”
Debbie Johnson, S & W Cabinet’s receptionist and office manager, has worked for Snider for about 16 years, and has had the opportunity to see many of these satisfied customers return.
“We have had several generations of customers come through,” Johnson says. “It makes my day when a customer calls and says, ‘I just love my kitchen.’ Especially after they have seen their home torn up for days, and then see that finished product, it’s great.
“We have had parents refer us to their kids. We’ve had people’s aunts, uncles, neighbors — word of mouth is really how we get business.”
However, S & W Cabinets doesn’t just cater to individual homes.
“There are several contractors who I have come to know, who I work with often,” Snider says. “Also, the nice thing about being in Polk County, is you’re only an hour from Tampa and Orlando. I’ve done work in both. We’ve done jobs as far north as Georgia and as far south as Miami. It’s cool to do work offsite.”
However, it’s the ties to the local community and the family aspect of the business that makes Snider proud of S & W Cabinets.
“It’s neat with some of the employees who have worked with me for a long time, we have been through a lot together,” he says.
Johnson echoed the feeling of family in the business.
“I feel like it’s family here,” she says. “It’s fun to come to work, and it’s nice to know that your customers aren’t just your customers. They are your neighbors.”
For more info visit SnWCabinets.com.