Co-owners Gabe Powers and Stephanie Lemon work with builders, architects and designers to craft their visions for custom-made cabinets into reality.

Photos Jonathan Castner

Abacus Cabinetry has the ability to create everything from modern-looking European designs to traditional cabinets. It can add lighting, metal details, special hardware, wall paneling, hidden doors, and unique functional accessories and features.

Powers and Lemon bought the company in 2018 from the original owner who started it in his garage before opening his own shop. “When we first bought it, we looked at the business as a good opportunity to take it to another level and we modernized a lot of things,” says Lemon, the company’s vice president.

Powers came to the company with a background in engineering, having worked for Merrick & Co. and Los Alamos National Laboratory. That background has served him well as the company has upgraded its software and machinery to make building cabinets more efficient.

Lemon’s sales background gives her a leg up when she’s working with architects and builders who are working on renovations or designing new homes for their clients.

Abacus uses a process that combines traditional craftsmanship and high-tech machinery, which allows it to build high-quality custom cabinets with the care of a craftsman and the precision of computer-controlled machines. While machinery does all the cutting, the benchwork and custom work are done by hand.

“If we were manufacturing the same widget over and over, you can dial it in, but every project we do is unique,” says Powers, the company’s president. “There’s a lot of thought and a lot of detail to make sure we’re producing what we’ve been asked to produce.”

The kitchen cabinets market is expected to be valued at more than $160 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 6 percent, according to a report from Mordor Intelligence.

Kitchen renovation is among the most common home improvements homeowners make. The demand is fueled by homeowners wanting more and larger cabinets for additional storage space; design trends like islands and counter-style seating; and manufacturer efforts to include features like LED lighting, pull-out shelves, and racks.

Challenges: Building cabinets is a labor-intensive process, and finding the right employees to do the job has been challenging for Abacus. “We can cut as many parts as required on the machines, but at the end of the day, we need people with experience to make sure the quality stays at the highest level,” says Powers. “Keeping good people around is one of the biggest challenges I see.”

Opportunities: Abacus focuses on selling its products to builders and architects who are working on large-scale products like apartment buildings and retirement homes. “Marketing to them is a fabulous opportunity,” Lemon says. “We send introductions to ourselves to builders, architects and designers.”

Abacus is poised to launch a secondary line of cabinetry to reach consumers it doesn’t already serve. “It’s not our high-end custom line,” Lemon says. “It’s more middle of the road to service some of the opportunities we lost last year.”

Needs: More funding would help Abacus Cabinetry upgrade its equipment and improve its processes. “There’s always machinery that can be improved upon,” Lemon says. “There’s software we could use to improve our process.”

Abacus also would benefit from expanding its 10,000-square-foot space to 15,000 square feet. “Our building is limited as far as access, but moving into a better layout for our physical space would cost quite a bit of money,” says Lemon.