Steve Latham, owner and president of Avoca-based Latham Cabinets Inc., said product quality and customer service have set the cabinetry business apart from other shops. This has also kept the family-owned shop in business for 50 years.
“That speaks for itself because we don’t do a whole lot of advertising,” Latham said. “Most of ours is word of mouth.”
Steve’s father, Ray, established Latham Cabinets in 1972 in a former milk barn. Since then, not a lot has changed in the way cabinetry is built. Still, the business that specializes in custom cabinets has experienced change.
In 1983, Ray retired, and the business moved into a 7,500-square-foot shop. About 11 years ago, Ray died and the business relocated across the street into a building three times larger. Steve’s son, Butch, vice president and board member, said his daughter, Adrean, has started to work at the shop – now in its fourth generation.
Butch noted that while product quality hasn’t changed, materials prices and hardware have. The Lathams also explained that the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t directly impacted the business, but it has limited materials supply amid a labor shortage.
Even before the pandemic, Latham Cabinets has faced a lack of skilled labor. It has nine employees.
The majority of the shop’s business comes from Northwest Arkansas, but it’s completed jobs as far west as St. George, Utah, and south to Marco Island, Fla. Many of its long-distance jobs were for customers who had relocated from Northwest Arkansas. The Lathams added that the shop has completed custom jobs for the Branson, Mo., homes of country musicians Kenny Rogers and Mel Tillis.
Repeat business is important, but the company has more new customers than returning ones, Steve noted. All of the company’s business comprises residential work, and jobs can take from two days to two weeks.