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The Challenge of Casegoods: Customized, Made in USA, Budget Friendly

The Challenge of Casegoods: Customized, Made in USA, Budget Friendly

With the increase of new hotel and resort projects, as well as robust remodeling, owners and construction project managers are re-examining how they fulfill the millwork and casegood category of their building projects.

r.o.i. Design describes millwork as casegoods that are fixed to the architecture. Casegoods (typically described in the furniture category) and millwork are amortized differently on the balance sheet and quite often supplied by different sources. This area of procurement is a challenge but also an opportunity.

Aside: The debate about buying US or non-US continues, but the more foreign manufacturers merge their offering with state side distribution, the point of manufacturing is becoming less of a political, economic issue. We all need each other, globally to make our businesses work, within reason. Logistics and the chain of ownership continues to be the defining component to value and control.

r.o.i. Design can contribute to this dialogue with these observations:

  • Understanding: When the customer understands that the total cost of a product includes, freight, handling, staging and delivery-the criteria may change. The age old mantra, “you can have 2 of the 3 – 1. design, 2. price or 3. schedule” still holds true.
  • Flexibility: And when the project team is willing to look at qualified suppliers outside their list of typical vendors, value can be realized.
  • Cost Analysis: Overseas products may show up with a reduced unit price, but the cost and risk to get those products to the site, as designed and on time is not always as manageable. We see this situation being improved incrementally and by situation, but as of October 2015, we don’t make price or lead time promises on overseas product without considerable confirmation and agreement.
  • New Materials and Technology: While process and manufacturing styles for US manufacturers are consistent, their emerging ability to use new materials and technology are offering a value that competes with the “all in costs” of overseas manufactures.
  • Design-Assist: When project budgeting can take advantage of qualified suppliers, early in the process, value is realized. Sharing the designing of products with the makers of the products only makes sense to our customers.
Textured Melamine

Textured Melamine

New Materials

In the last few years, r.o.i. Design has specified “new materials” with great success.

  • Textured melamine panel products offer a huge advantage for larger projects.
  • The big names in laminate (Formica, Wilsonart, Pionite and Nevamar)  have done there homework and laminate, an affordable option, is becoming a more viable option to wood or stone in today’s designs.
  • And the combined use of solid surface veneer with laminates has created options for look and feel not available even a year ago.
  • Upholstered casegoods are a viable option. Technology and design has created a category of fabric that defies wear, responds to robust cleaning and is easily replaceable. Fabrics are merging with hard surface options.

r.o.i. Design has it roots in manufacturing for hospitality and while we only have a sample shop today, our interest, relationships and experience in casegoods and millwork continue to bring value to our customers.

We negotiate with our customers and their contractors to determine how we best can bring value to their millwork and casegood procurement.


Remodeling of Kennedy Floral and Gifts in Grand Rapids MI

Remodeling of Kennedy Floral and Gifts in Grand Rapids MI

Lori and Jack Haveman called r.o.i. Design in the summer of 2012, they got our name from architect Don Smalligan. And it turns out 20 plus years ago our previous company, Designers Workshop, made their exterior sign!

Pre-Remodeling Store Interior

We met and found we worked well with their team and we were engaged to plan their store remodel. They were taking on more space and looked to create better offices, floral design areas, and additional retail floor space.  We collaborated with them and came up with a plan that looked to address all their needs.

Through the process we had a unique “find”. Looking for a natural loft look, TonTin Lumber had some reclaimed Ash that was beautiful. They purchased from the city of Grand Rapids the trees that had been taken down because of the “Ash Borer”. The new room is lined with this Ash and the ceiling is clad with maple plywood.

And keeping with the theme “Girls just want to have fun”, a hot pink was incorporated in key areas. It compliments the Vera Bradley displays and makes all the green floral stuff, pop!

We introduced them to Pinnacle Construction, who bid the work around Labor Day. They said they could get the work done by the first week of November.  We knew they could do it and encouraged Kennedy to hire them and start the process. Everyone else they talked to said they were crazy, no one could remodel a whole store in 10 weeks and stay open!

A few dozen design changes, and a few “whoops”, the remodel was 95% by their Holiday Open House November 15, 2012. Looks great!

New Cash Counter in use October 28


Remodeling of Kennedy Floral and Gifts in Grand Rapids MI

Life Stream Church: An Example of Sustainability and Faith

We released this press release April 19, 2012 to Regional Media

A Vision of Sustainability in Allendale Michigan

Life Stream Church converts Middle School to Church Center

Attendance Soars

 A few years ago Life Stream Church, then called Allendale Wesleyan Church, started on a revitalized journey. They were renting the Allendale High School Fine Arts Auditorium for worship services, and for four years, faithfully set up “church” in that space. They gathered, on average, between 300 – 350 people every Sunday with active mid-week youth and adult programs.

Looking for more than a year at property to buy in order to build a church and expand their program in the Allendale area, they stopped their search after touring the vacant Allendale middle school. (more…)