Rick Hurst of Richelieu Hardware, centre, speaks with CKAC members at a plant tour.
Don’t call it the end of an era, because it isn’t.
But what it does represent is the end of the longest term anyone has served on the board of directors of the Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Association.
Rick Hurst of Richelieu Hardware has been serving on the board of the CKCA since 1993, and while that record has come to an end, he will continue the long run as a member, which means you will still see him at meetings - once we’ll be able to have those again – and also that you can still buy him a beer and thank him for his service.
“My first meeting was in the spring of 1993, and the whole meeting was spent with the executive discussing whether the CKCA was to close that day or not,” Hurst remembers.
“At the end of the day they decided to continue the CKCA and I got to go to my first board meeting.
Hurst says it was an interesting and challenging time. We finally have all the right things in place and the CKCA is extremely well positioned for the future,” says Hurst.
“This is a very exciting time for the CKCA and I think it will flourish.”
Hurst says he got his start on the board, when Richard Lord, the president of Richelieu, asked him in ’93 if he would take his seat and do his very best to help the CKCA.
“He saw the importance of the CKCA for the cabinetmaking industry to get out of their own shop and meet other people in the industry and who can help them,” Hurst says.
“He made it very clear the CKCA, as the single voice of the industry, needed to survive. It is very much part of the Richelieu culture to support the cabinetmaking industry.
“I have an advantage at Richelieu because we have over 2,000 people and if I need some information there are people I can ask internally, but where does the cabinet shop go?’ says Hurst.
“You’ve seen enough of them, who do they ask?
You got one or two people at the top of most companies and there is nobody else to talk to, no one else to ask or get advice from. So what do they do?
“Well that’s a benefit of the CKCA isn’t it? You meet all the suppliers and when you meet them you meet the upper level of your supplier, the decision makers and that’s a huge leg up for a lot of customers. And you meet others in the industry who have to deal with the same issues you’re facing.”
Hurst cited the example of COVID-19 and all the virtual meetings the CKCA organized.
“There was a real crisis, no one was sure what to do, but here you could talk to and ask your peers to see what they were doing, what other shops did.”
And with all the benefits CKCA membership now provides, from things like health insurance to CFIB membership, Hurst says it is a huge benefit to members and “their CKCA membership fee is offset very, very quickly and you are gaining enormous benefits for your company.
“Some of the savings people have realized through the insurance program alone are absolutely incredible. And thanks to CFIB membership you have access to incredible resources and a voice at the table with government.”
And last but not least, Hurst also encourages every kitchen manufacturer to get CKCA Certification, because it tells customers that they are getting a quality and certified product.
“If I was a cabinetmaker that would be one of the first things I would do, because I can use it to market my products to customers and give them the peace of mind.”
“I think the CKCA has never been better positioned than it is right now, with all the programs they got running, and it has come through COVID-19 in a very health position,” Hurst says.
Also, the association is in the process of completing the transition from being an Ontario registered not for profit to a Canadian registered one to further align with it’s national mandate and focus.
“CKCA has lots of fresh blood and lots of energy and I think they are in a very good spot for the future and it’s my time to depart.”