When a Trader Joe’s or Vons is undergoing a remodel – or simply needs a store freshened up with new register counters or a different motif for its deli, pharmacy or produce departments – chances are, you’re looking at the craftsmanship of JD Woodcraft, located in Ontario, California.
For 38-year-old owner Juan Duran, starting his own woodworking business two years ago was the furthest thing from his mind.
“I had worked for the same company for 17 years, starting as an installer and working my way up to plant manager,” he said. “And then one day the owners announced they would be closing up shop. It left me wondering what the heck was I going to do now I had planned to retire from that company.”
With the encouragement and help of his good friend Conrad Lopez, Juan decided to take a leap of faith and go into business for himself as a sub-contracting, finished carpentry company for the grocery industry.
“I cashed out my retirement savings and started knocking on doors,” said Juan, who excelled in Woodshop at Montebello High School, where he took first place honors in an annual art show. “I still had my connections from my old company, so I started knocking on doors and quickly found out many of my grocery industry friends couldn’t wait to work with me again.”
In just two years, JD Woodcraft has gone from owning one table saw and hand tools to operating three fully outfitted shops with a staff of 12. “I never dreamed we would grow this fast,” he said. “We handle about 30 remodels a year for both Trader Joe’s and Vons.”
According to Juan, the company had recently come to a crossroads – hire more people to keep up with the rigorous demands of fast turn-around times or add a CNC machine. “We ran the numbers, and ordering a CNC Smartshop II from Laguna Tools by far made the most economic sense,” he said.
“I shopped around extensively, and nothing on the market compared with the features and benefits and price of the Smartshop. In other words, we got way more bang for our buck!”
The recent CNC acquisition from Laguna Tools is already paying dividends for JD Woodcraft in a number of ways.
“For example, we have been able to increase our production capabilities using the same number of employees,” he said. “Instead of somebody spending the entire day cutting wood on our panel saw, I can now use that individual for assembling cabinets and edge banding them or laminating Formica. The CNC machine has made us drastically more efficient.”
Since Juan was already an expert CNC operator at his previous company, he understood the advantages of using a machine that produces endless perfectly uniform cuts with almost no waste. “I’ve trained my son Derick to operate our Laguna Tools CNC Machine, and he’s doing a great job.”
According to Juan, the ability to produce high quality woodworking quickly is the reason for his young company’s success.
“When we get a call from the contractor that somebody needs new shadow boxes, register counters, or any custom fixtures, we typically have a maximum of one week to get the
job finished,” he said. “Other companies take forever, so our ability to quickly execute a client’s request gives us an enviable competitive advantage – and the CNC Smart Shop from Laguna Tools makes us even faster.”
Juan added that he couldn’t be happier with the service-after-the-sale he’s received from Laguna Tools. “Steven Alvarez and ‘Router’ Bob Alsup over at Laguna Tools have been great to work with,” he said. “It’s nice to see another company that takes customer service as seriously as we do around here. I would highly recommend them to any business that wants to increase efficiency to boost their bottom line.”
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