Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.

Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.

What do you do and how long have you been doing it? (Joe speaking) We sell cabinets for kitchens, bathrooms, home offices and media rooms. We also have cabinet hardware and counter tops. We emphasize the design process, coming up with the best design and value for the room. We cover basically the Rogue Valley, Brookings, Crescent City, Yreka and Grants Pass. We opened the business in 2001, partnering with the Appliance Depot, which is now defunct. We did that for two years, then it became my business operating out of their store. We moved to our present space in 2003.

How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley? My family moved here in 1964 from Springfield.

What inspired you to go into this line of work? I was selling appliances and Larson's branched out into cabinets in 1992. I volunteered to move into that direction. I pretty much stuck with it and that's what I've done.

What decision or action would you change if you could do it again? I think I would work harder at cultivating long-term relationships with clients and maintaining relationships. It's real easy to move on from one job to the next and when you are busy you don't always keep track of everybody. Basically, we try to emphasize customer service, but I don't think you can ever do enough of that.

What's the toughest business decision you've made? I had to lay off an employee when the economy started to dip. I had a full-time designer working for me. The overall decline in new starts for homes contributed. We had always done a lot of remodel work, but everything dipped when the economy turned south. Not only did new construction drop, but so did remodelling. I'm starting to see it come back now. People feel like they can do new kitchens and baths, whereas in the past couple of years they've been in shock.

Who are your competitors? We compete with Lowe's, Home Depot, Brothers Cabinet in Central Point and other cabinet shops.

What are your goals? I would like to get the business to the point where my wife, Lucy, and I could conceivably step away and have someone take it over and keep it going. There is a lot of potential for people to upgrade their cabinets in the coming years. I believe in having a quality kitchen where everybody hangs out. Lucy does wood furniture repair and touch up. We plan to diversify more in that direction, doing house calls.

What training or education did you need? The state of the art for cabinet design is a CAD, or computer aided design, program that lets you design the cabinets and produce graphic drawings. You have to be able to produce good drawings to show what the kitchen will look like. Customers have to visualize what it will be. I took an introductory CAD class, but it was mostly sitting down and grinding it out. I had a supervisor at Larson's who got me started.

What's your advice for budding entrepreneurs? Business plan, business plan, have a business plan. Really research your market. You have to watch your costs, work long hours and try to cover everything.

To suggest ideas for this column, about businesses that are at least five years old, contact reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.