Established in 1977, Brian’s Cabinets is Central Oregon’s largest custom cabinet manufacturer. Since purchasing the business in 2003, Todd Hakala and his team of professional designers, engineers, craftsmen, and installers have built a reputation for exceptional service and quality. A resident of Bend since childhood, Hakala has navigated through tremendous economic shifts over the past two decades.
“I had to borrow a significant amount of money to purchase the business. I am fortunate to have a great partner who supported me in this endeavor. Due to the great recession, it took me over 14 years to pay off all the debt, but it was worth it! The recession was very tough on our business. Our revenues went down nearly 75% and we had to layoff many employees. Luckily, I had 35 employees stay with me through this difficult period and we weathered the storm.” said Hakala, who attributes their success to these dedicated employees and long-standing partnerships with residential builders around Bend.
In 2018 when the manufacturer outgrew its original facility, they began looking for options to build a new facility in Central Oregon. “Our old location was too constrained for the amount of shipping and receiving we do. Customer parking was terrible and we were having a lot of issues with space. We considered moving to Redmond but so many of our customers and employees are in Bend so when we evaluated options for the new facility, we knew we wanted to stay here,” said Hakala.
Kevin Spencer, of Empire Construction, helped to identify a 3.5-acre parcel of land off Sockeye Place and EDCO worked with the City of Bend and Empire Construction to champion the project and navigate permits, tax credits and incentives that could be leveraged to keep the growing company in Bend. One of these incentives was the Enterprise Zone program, which encourages job creation and investment by eligible businesses by temporarily waiving property taxes.
The new 42,000 square-foot facility in the Northeast industrial sector includes a showroom floor for customers, office and meeting rooms, as well as a 35,000 square-foot manufacturing floor which has created multiple production efficiencies. The facility was designed with sustainable elements such as a dust collection system that also serves to balance the heating and cooling of the facility, creating a more efficient and comfortable environment for the employees.
If you were to walk around the manufacturing floor you would see pictures of families taped to machines that showcase the ripple effect of having strong middle-class employment opportunities for the community. According to a 2021 ECONorthwest study, commissioned by Oregon Business & Industry and the Oregon Business Council, full-time median earnings in manufacturing are 17% greater than the median wage of workers in other industries in the state. The manufacturing industry plays a critical role in the economy, contributing $33 billion to the GDP and 214,000 jobs, according to the same study.
Hakala puts a lot of focus on encouraging employee longevity and knows his customers benefit from the efficiency and quality provided by the team. In addition to 36 craftsmen, Brian’s Cabinet’s team includes numerous engineers, designers, installers, sales, and operations professionals all working together to create and build world-class custom cabinetry for their customers. In addition to an in-house team of installers, he notes that about half of the installers he uses are general contractors who started their careers with Brian’s Cabinets and have gone on to start their own companies. This provides his team with reliable subcontractors who know the business and provides a pool of talented contractors for commercial and residential builders across the Central Oregon region.
Don Myll, EDCO’s Bend Area Director, explains, “Brian’s Cabinets is a valued traded-sector manufacturing company that persevered through the Great Recession and pandemic-related supply chain issues and continues to be a pillar in the local economy. We are fortunate to have Brian’s Cabinets in Bend and I’m glad EDCO was able to support their continued growth.”