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Connect – Learn – Prosper

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CKCA by Caroline Castrucci
Caroline Castrucci is CP/Owner of Laurysen Kitchens Ltd. & President of Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Association. For more info email ccastrucci@laurysenkitchens.com
I’ve had the privilege of serving as CKCA President for the past two years and have served on the CKCA board for 12 years.
While it is true that I come from a family of engaged manufacturers who have been involved with the CKCA for over 40 years, I am also a business owner with deadlines and pressures and a desire to continually improve my business. I firmly believe in giving back to the industry, 
but I must also admit that being engaged with the association has helped my business flourish.  
As I step down as CKCA president I want to say thank you to everyone who has contributed to the CKCA and continues to do so. This association exists to support you, the kitchen cabinet manufacturer. Like many associations we have gone through a lot of changes 
and in our 50 years of operation, we know that it’s not the numbers that count, 
it’s what we are doing that makes the difference.  

Woodworkers are humble people
Canadians are respected around the world because we are polite and known to be generous. Woodworkers in Canada are known for their quality workmanship and humble business approach. We are not known for being glaringly obvious or keen to brag about the good work we do. I think the same thing can be said about CKCA.
We are often asked “what’s the value in CKCA” or “why should I join CKCA”? Well, the truth is that the benefits of engaging with an association are not always immediately obvious. Sometimes you don’t even realize what those benefits are until you start talking about the experiences you’ve had or the conversations you’ve had through the CKCA and where that has led you. But one thing I know for sure and that is that this association has directly and indirectly helped my business flourish.

Learning is an ingredient of success
We all build boxes. But when you get out of your shops, talk to other manufacturers and take the time to listen to industry experts – you learn. You learn how to run your business better, you learn how to be more efficient and you learn how to prepare for what’s next. This is 
what we have done at Laurysen Kitchens and it has indeed been a key ingredient of our success.
If you look at how much this industry has changed in the last 50 years, imagine what changes are next?  None of us have that crystal ball, but since we have lived to see the changes happen, we know that we can’t stand still, we have to keep our businesses nimble to change. That means staying current with manufacturing processes, keeping up with the design trends, staying in touch with the right people in the industry, producing quality products that are competitively priced and of superior quality, and, most importantly, maintaining a valued business reputation with our clients.

Juggling the pressures of the business
What’s on the minds of a manufacturer on a daily basis? Plenty! Pressing issues such as skilled labour shortages, educating our workforce on new technologies, retention of staff and attracting kitchen designers, competing with cheap foreign imports, the pressures to mechanize, digitize and now to grasp the abstract concepts of artificial intelligence and smart technologies, finding sources of funding to help our businesses evolve and grow. Just another day juggling the many issues in our business right? But we have to do something about it. We can’t just complain about the issues, that’s the easy part. Creating the solutions takes more time, more resources and requires everyone to step up. CKCA started in 1968 and was successful in getting a federal tax repealed on kitchen cabinetry at that time. So we know that speaking up and being heard does work and that being silent and disengaged achieves nothing and it doesn’t help your business either. So as I leave this position as president I invite any kitchen cabinet manufacturer to come and join the CKCA. Come and help us do what we need to do to address the issues that affect us daily.
As I close my tenure as president, I will remain involved with CKCA because it’s good for business.  Whether you are a small shop of just one or two people, or a business like ours with more than 100 employees, the principles of success are the same. Work hard, connect with the right people in business, build quality and provide good service, be competitive and know your market, manage your company finances well and know your limitations, grow carefully and strategically and engage with your industry. Don’t work in a silo, get out of your shop and see what the rest of the industry is doing, learn from it, apply what you’ve learned, make better business decisions and enjoy the success that comes with it.
It has been a pleasure to serve as president of the CKCA. I look forward to engaging with colleagues at future CKCA events, to speaking up to support my business and the industry, to learning more to help my business grow.

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