Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ex-Offender Cabinet Manufacturing Business as Mission Update

Five years ago when we rented a new location for Bud’s Warehouse, we dreamed about 25,000 square feet of wide aisles and immaculately organized sections. We had visions of becoming the “Home Depot” of thrift stores by dramatically increasing our retail appeal.

But two days before we moved into our meticulously organized new warehouse, we received a call from a national cabinet manufacturer. They were changing product lines and had 10 semi-loads of cabinet doors to donate. It was too good to pass up so we decided to make space. Gone were the dreams of clear aisles and neatly racked product areas. In its place were cabinet doors, cabinet doors and more cabinet doors. We were literally drowning in cabinet doors. But our impulsive yes was born out of experience. Swelling to accommodate this unexpected influx allowed us several years of great sales as customers sought the doors for cabinet resurfacing projects.

Fast-forward four years to last spring. We received a call from the same manufacturer with an even bigger supply of doors to donate. 20 semi-loads. Over 100,000 doors. Only this time, they also had wood and cabinet parts to donate. As I blogged about last spring, sometimes the best plan is having no plan at all…and trusting God to lead the way.

We did find donated space—two warehouses—to house our cabinet door windfall. We have also asked the community for help in developing a cabinet-manufacturing program for ex-offenders. And on New Year’s Eve at a Confluence Ministries’ party, I reconnected with a carpenter friend who was involved in the start-up of Bud’s Warehouse 15 years ago. He was excited by our vision and our commitment to working with felons so he has taken an active role in helping us incubate this program.

We’re hoping to have our first proto-type cabinets built in the next few weeks and serious assembly work occurring in the late spring. And we’re praying that this all comes together quickly before someone rents the donated space. Or else it will be déjà vu all over again with us drowning in cabinet doors back at Bud’s Warehouse.

If you’re interested in learning more about this developing program or lending your expertise, let me know.

1 comment:

smorgasblurb said...

I definitely want to see pictures if/when the prototypes are finished. I have friends who are in the home remodeling business who might be interested in becoming customers.

Thanks!

Chris