How Our Dreams Became Our Reality
Hello! If you’re reading this it’s because you are AWESOME! Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Morgan Kendrick, the marketing manager at The Markket, and 1 of 4 Kendrick kids that are employed by and love our family businesses! One of the things that I get asked the most is “How?” & “Why?”. I would like to give you a brief history into our family business and use this as an opportunity to piece everything together. Now bear with me! There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle and they move pretty quick so it can be confusing and overwhelming, but if you stick around it’s pretty darn amazing!
In 1983, my parents purchased a sawmill. Along with their hardworking and dedicated employees, they have since grown KFP to be the largest sawmill in the State of Iowa -producing over 11 million board feet per year. KFP sells veneer logs, green and kiln dried lumber, railroad ties, and landscaping mulch.
In 2001 we purchased a small cabinetry company and relocated it to Edgewood and Forever Cabinets by Kendrick was born. We were now controlling the whole process of our wood products from harvesting the tree to installing it as a cabinet in a home. Forever Cabinets is a custom cabinet company that builds beautiful cabinets out of hardwoods that are produced in our sawmill. We have staffed designers that work directly with our clients to ensure that they are getting the design of their dreams, while utilizing their space efficiently. In 2016 the growth of our cabinet company began to exceed the amount of space in our shop so we began looking at other options and this is where all the fun began.
My mom always said “To be successful you need to recognize a need and fill it.” Sounds easier than it actually is. This is where I explain the “how”s and “why”s.
At Kendrick, Inc., we practice lean manufacturing company-wide and we credit our progress and survival of the last economic downfall to loyal, hard-working and innovative employees, and their commitment to working in a lean environment. Lean manufacturing is a systematic method for waste minimization within a manufacturing system without sacrificing productivity. We are constantly stressing continuous improvement which means we are pushing for incremental improvement of products, processes, or services over time, with the goal of reducing waste to improve workplace functionality, customer service, and product performance. In the fall of 2016, KFP and Forever Cabinets participated in a 14 week “Lean Journey” where we broke into groups by department and focused on a different aspect of lean each week. The Forever Cabinets staff took on the lean mindset and were able to improve their processes and production. The next thing they needed to improve on was their flow. With the building we were in, we had some structural obstacles. It was decided that in order to improve our flow and layout we were going to need more work space with an open layout.
While the cabinet shop was facing not enough space, the sawmill had a different issue. They had too much of something. In the sawmill, boards are cut off a log in order to get to the more desirable parts of that log. These boards that get cut off are called shims. The value in a shim is low so KFP bundles them up and sells them for firewood, or they are ground up and turned into landscaping mulch. Because shims are produced with every log cut, you can begin to have an over-abundance of shims and needed to find an outlet for them. So that became the second need, another outlet for the shims.
It was at this time that our retail store in Dyersville, Just For You, was having a hard time keeping wooden signs in stock. They sold so quickly and when they tried to reorder, the lead time was so long. So that became the third need, a need for wooden sign home décor.
As all of these needs came to a head at the same time, it just so happened that there was a 36,000 sq. ft. industrial building sitting empty in Edgewood just four blocks from our current location. My mom, Rhonda Kendrick, being the visionary that she is, thought back to a time in August of 2016 when her and I attended the International Woodworking Fair and saw industrial sized printing machines. And that’s when everything began to click. If we could purchase that building and a printer, we could relocate the cabinet shop there and begin mass producing wooden signs using shims. That would fill all three needs, so that is what we did.
Within 6 months, we were able to purchase a new facility, relocate one business, and start three more. When you’re at The Markket you can tour our print lab where we make products for two of our new companies, Kendrick Home and Shimlee. At Kendrick Home, we have staffed designers who are constantly coming up with new designs for home décor to be printed on our wooden signs. We sell these signs in The Markket and take and sell wholesale to other retailers nationwide. Our new product line has been very successful so far with accounts already secured in multiple brick and mortar stores across the US along with a custom line for major retailers like Home Goods.
In between filling orders for Kendrick Home we also use the print lab to fill orders for our company called Shimlee. Shimlee is an internet based company that specializes in printing your photographs on real wood. What I get asked most about Shimlee is how did we come up with it or did we buy into a franchise? The answer is no it is not a franchise, it is our own company that we dreamed up and brought to life. We just figured if we could print beautiful artwork onto wood why couldn’t we print peoples photographs. So with Shimlee, everyone is our customer. All you need to do is go to our website, pick your size, upload your photo, and check out! We then ship your shimlee right to you or you can pick up in our store in Edgewood.
Now last, but not least, and probably the whole reason you’re reading this, The Markket. I would say that my mom has always had a passion for retail and customer service, so it’s no surprise to me that a retail store wasn’t always in the grand plans on paper, but happened anyway. When we were deciding to relocate Forever Cabinets we knew that we needed a new showroom for our cabinets. I would definitely say that The Markket somewhat evolved during our transition from our old location to our new one. We definitely knew that we wanted to showcase multiple species, styles, and finishes of cabinets and we needed to have ample space to do so. But we needed to ensure that our customers have the best experience possible. If they were coming to us for new cabinetry, they were probably needing to get other things as well such as lighting, barstools, etc. We wanted to offer a place where they could get all of the things they needed for their home with the staff to help them through it -not to mention, locally!! So The Markket really evolved along the way into this amazing retail destination that we love!
And as for the name, if you haven’t noticed yet, there are two K’s in Markket. Well we came up with the name and spelling to represent each member of our family and community that we love so as it goes:
M – Morgan
A – Andrea
R – Rhonda
K – Kerra
K – Kirby
E – Edgewood
T – Tim
So this is our story so far! We have had an amazing year and have accomplished more than what we ever thought possible! But if you work hard and surround yourself with supportive friends and family, anything is possible!
Morgan Kendrick (the M in Markket)