Caroline Castrucci of Laurysen Kitchens has taken over the reigns as CKCA president from Jim Lawrence. Castrucci’s two-year term began at CKCA’s National Forum, held April 28-May 1, in Whistler, B.C.
“There is a renewed optimism among our members,” Castrucci says.
“There is a really positive feeling that the CKCA has turned the corner and that we are in a much better position now than we ever were.
“We have hired a full-time, dedicated association manager who has started to ensure that the CKCA gets the kind of focused management the association needs and I think we are already seeing the benefits of that.
“With Dawn (Wilson) we are seeing a lot more communication, our recently updated association branding and our redesigned and improved website have been very well received and we will follow that up soon with our new, updated certification program.”
The CKCA Certification Program was first launched in 2009 and introduced national standards for cabinetmakers across the country. The program is designed to differentiate Canadian-made cabinets from imported cabinetry via a uniform construction and material-testing standard for kitchen cabinets and vanities. It is available to all active CKCA members in Canada.
Since the program was first launched, construction methods, and materials have evolved and the association has been reviewing all aspects of this program to ensure it is current and applicable to all manufacturers.
CKCA certification offers Canadian cabinet manufacturers the opportunity to build consumer confidence with the promise of consistent quality products they can trust.
Castrucci says the program is one of the biggest benefits for CKCA members because it not only provides them with a great marketing opportunity, but it builds consumer confidence because it is approved and backed by an association, and manufactured to a strict quality standard. It’s the ultimate peace of mind for consumers, like a seal of approval.
Castrucci says her company has been using Certification since the beginning as a way to market a quality Canadian product.
“It’s an important marketing tool for us. We have been certified for years and we have that CKCA Certification sticker on everything we do, from projects, to the showroom, to every design and layout we do for customers.
“It gives people that little bit of extra confidence,” she says. “You still need good design and a good product, but this offers customers peace of mind, that extra confidence that their kitchen will be constructed according to established quality standards.”
Castrucci says CKCA is working hard to promote the standard and if she has her way, there will come a time when customers won’t even consider buying an uncertified kitchen or cabinet.
“That’s our goal and that’s what we are working towards and we will aggressively market certification.
“Our industry is a great industry, it impacts people’s lives everyday. Everyone meets in the kitchen, it’s the heart of the home and we play an important part in that when we manufacture a quality product. Everyone gathers around the kitchen table for family time or important discussions, a kitchen is a big investment and CKCA Certification tells consumers they are getting quality.
And CKCA membership has many other benefits. From travel and insurance discounts to deals offered by manufacturers to numerous special events such as the national forum and regional meetings held across the country that give members a chance to tour shops, learn new skills or simply provide them with networking opportunities.
“And we have a lot more education coming in,” Castrucci says. “CKCA provides not just a social networking opportunity, there is a lot more going on here and I have heard nothing but positive comments from members regarding the new direction of our association.
“We are working really hard to add value for our manufacturing members and increase our manufacturing membership and that will also add value for our supplier members.
“I believe our greatest challenge currently is to attract new members and that’s where we are investing a lot of time and effort,” she says.
“There are a lot of kitchen companies out there and it is important for us to make sure they understand what the CKCA is all about and what we do.”
Castrucci says she is very much looking forward to serve as president.
“I believe we turned the corner and now I want the association to be stronger and provide members with the kinds of services and they are expecting.
“The social network that we have is very important, the learning opportunities it provides and our manufacturers roundtable is a great opportunity for our members to talk amongst each other about some of the issues they face and some of the problems they encounter.”
She added that the ‘Members Only’ section of the website is also constantly expanding and offers many ways for members to communicate with each other year round.
And if you are not a member and you want to see what our events are all about, we encourage people to come out and see what we have to offer, she says. Partake in our education and learning programs, meet people and discuss issues and see that we are all in this together. We are a strong industry, but we also need to be able to stand our ground, work together and compete against imports.
We offer great opportunities for social networking and education and if you come out to one of our meetings and take just one thing away from it, then you’ve already benefitted. One takeaway pays for everything.
“Whether it’s finding another supplier, or finding out how Six Sigma works, or learning about water-based finishes, all these things add up. You could spend hours and hours figuring these things out for yourself, but if you come here and talk to people, it’s all right there in five minutes,” Castrucci says.
“So take advantage of our open door policy, I invite everyone that isn’t a member already, to come out and see what we have to offer.”