What’s the difference between a Big Box Store vs Local Independ Cabinet/Kitchen Designers?

In another life I was a salesman/customer rep with a large cabinet company that sold to the big box stores in the Friendswood & Clear Lake & Greater Houston Areas. Basically, I helped those big box employees sell my cabinetry to the public.

A lot of peoples’ first steps into Kitchen remodeling is visiting their local Big Box store. This is a good start but should not be your last Stop. Depending on your location you can get a wide range of experiences from those that work at the Big Box stores and unfortunately the experience of those individuals who work at these box stores continues to decrease. And it’s not these employee’s fault. Cost cutting by these large chains limits how the employees grow as Kitchen designers and turns them
into mostly order takers.

  • Most are prevented from visiting jobsites. Some are only Zoom calls. So much knowledge and experiences are gained by what you see on a job as its being installed. There are so many ways to do the same thing, but each has its advantages and not seeing it firsthand limits your depth of understanding.
  • Most now learn from online classes that are not even taught by a live individual – just prerecorded instruction. Have you ever heard of someone being book smart with no common sense?
  • A lot of new employees don’t even have experience coworkers to learn under.
  • Every Kitchen and clients needs are different and requires different solutions and/or methods in designing a kitchen to get the best result. And continued education is a key part to knowing the latest trends and products that are available. I don’t know of any Box stores that send their employees to trade shows or conferences to hone their trade. This results in more mistakes from inexperience designers that for you increases headaches like longer wait times because of corrections.
  • Find someone who is easy to work with and listens. This is the biggest thing to consider when thinking of doing a large kitchen remodel. But know that in the big box stores employees are much more likely to quite or transfer and this could happen in the middle of your project.
  • One of the positives with the big box store is they can give clients a sense of security that they won’t run off with their money. Unfortunately, for our industry people must deal with these issues. So Find a local independent dealer that has a showroom, good reviews, and/or call the cabinet manufacture that the independent dealer is working with to see how long they have been working with the dealer and if they are in good standing.
  • Independent Cabinet Shop and a Design Build firm could be different too. Someone who builds cabinets in the client’s garage (On-site cabinets) or in a small shop could pose other issues: Quality, warranty, and Finish issues. In my opinion, cabinetry produced in a larger setting, like a manufacture, produces a more consistent product. Especially if a stain is preferred over a painted finish.
  • Big Box stores usually have larger displays and samples to put your hands on but even this is has diminished due to the cost cutting measures to keep shareholders happy.

The moral of the story is visiting several Stores and putting your hands on products and learning the difference between them is your best course of action. Don’t assume that just because it’s a big box store its cheaper or every that an Individual Firm is better or more expensive. There is someone out there for you and your needs and doing just a little more leg work could result in a big payoff.

Make Midtown Cabinetry & Designs one of your stops and I would be happy to talk to you about your project and explore how I may help. Appointments recommended and Walk-ins are welcome. Call 713-206-8398 for an appointment.