If you want to know how economic upswings and, yes, development make a difference for Palm Beach County businesses, take a walk though a small enterprise like Schrapper’s Fine Cabinetry and Design in Jupiter.
Requests for new kitchens, bathrooms, built-in wall units and closet systems for home remodels, new construction — like the Azure condo project — and spec homes are rolling in, say owners Keith and Beverly Levine. So much so, they say they’ve hired five new employees, increasing their staff to 15. And that doesn’t include people who offer draftsman and design work from remote locations in Pennsylvania and Naples, Fla.
And while close to 90 percent of their commerce is in Palm Beach County, the ripple effect from this corner location on Indiantown Road extends to other countries and continents, too.
All from a business with 15 people.
“The market is improving and we’re seeing Jupiter develop,” said Beverly Levine, who as a marketing specialist for the Kansas City, Mo., business development board learned a couple things about helping business grow.
The Levines moved to the area now branded as Palm Beach North in the late 1990s and, in 2001, bought Schrappers, whose owners were retiring. It’s not easy to take over a business from prior owners and make it thrive, but they have.
You see the signs of a robust business environment walking with the Levines through Schrapper’s Jupiter showroom. Customers are looking at sample materials. Blueprints hang on walls. And new look, fashionable cabinets and other kitchen and bath accoutrements adorn the office space.
Some jobs are small — in the $10,000 range — others are well into six figures.
What Keith Levine, whose background is in chemical engineering, is equally excited about is summed up in a word: Contemporary.
“It has finally come to this part of the county,” he said.
And it’s not just the cleaner, sleeker look, but the variety of colors and materials that this fashion niche offers, he said. Porcelain, acrylics, textured melamines (imitation wood surfaces) and different colors, plus white.
No offense to walnut, but designers like to be creative, and contemporary features allow them to do so.
But again, all this is possible because business is growing.
An expanding economy opens opportunity for creativity and experimenting. This is the proverbial risk taking that often is the determining factor in whether a business reinvents itself for success, or grows stale and gets overtaken by hungrier competitors.
But there’s another side to this story of a small business — its reach.
Schrappers’ vendors and suppliers abound, in the United States and overseas. There is a vanity maker in Milan, Italy. There is the porcelain maker based in Spain but with a manufacturing plant in Brazil.
Then there is a supplier in North Carolina that makes cabinetry. And Amish-run factories in Ohio and Illinois that supply Schrappers with their private label lines, which have lifetime warranties.
“We have tentacles everywhere,” said Beverly Levine.