INDUSTRY: Change, attitude creates ‘exceptional’ companyLynne Bauer’s kitchen was in dire need of remodeling. A difficult layout in a 1938 home, the Superior woman said she knew exactly where to turn —Rob’s Cabinetry and Millwork in Superior.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Lynne Bauer’s kitchen was in dire need of remodeling. A difficult layout in a 1938 home, the Superior woman said she knew exactly where to turn —Rob’s Cabinetry and Millwork in Superior.
After all, she wanted to spend her money locally and she was familiar with their work.
Bauer said after a friend built a new house — with cabinets designed and built by Rob’s Cabinetry and Millwork — and having seen his work at Johnson-Mertz Appliances in Duluth where the cabinet shop has several samples of its work and the Parade of Homes, she knew who she wanted to do the work.
The quality and craftmanship was just “so exceptional,” she said. Even in an older home with an odd space and walls that weren’t square, she said the company made it work.
“They’re expertise is fabulous,” Bauer said. “It is a very individualized, customer-friendly service. I just can’t tell you enough about how much they care. The detail is immaculate.”
Rob’s Cabinetry and Millwork got its start in 1979 when there were no jobs to be had, said owner Rob Peterson.
“I love Superior and I wanted to stay,” he said.
So he started a home improvement company that did mostly exterior remodeling at the time.
It was at the urging of his employees who wanted him to find inside work in the early 1980s when Peterson started the transition to company that specializes in custom cabinetry and millwork.
In 1982, he bought a building and started to reface cabinets, which turned into a cabinetry shop. Since transitioning to custom cabinetry, Peterson has added custom millwork to his repertoire. The shop also builds dovetailed drawers for other cabinetmakers in the region and provides finishing services.
The company takes on residential and commercial projects, such as the Bayfield County Courthouse, millwork for the renovation of Fairlawn and other projects.
“There’s a lot of skills that go into making custom cabinetry,” said Paul Peterson, who handles hiring for the business.
From a draftsman who handles the design work and planning to craftspeople who manufacture the cabinetry and millwork created across Rob’s campus of workshops from start to finishing work to installation.
They’re craftspeople who are trained in-house to assure they maintain the level of quality Rob’s is known for, Paul Peterson said.
The one thing that has been constant is change, Rob Peterson said of the company that has now survived two recessions.
Paul Horgren said his decision to hire Rob’s to build the cabinetry in the home he’s building in Sturgeon Lake, Minn., is the result of working with the company in the past.
The nice thing about working with Rob is he can give you what you want, but it’s better than what you want, Horgren said. He said Rob Peterson has the ability to implement people’s ideas without incorporating the flaws in those ideas, providing a top-quality result.
Bauer said one of the nice things about working with Rob’s is she could go to his shops on 22nd Avenue East and see her cabinetry being built before it was installed in her home. And any time she had a question from the company, she said they were willing to come to her home or talk to her on the phone about her project, which included bathroom closets and work in a mudroom in addition to her kitchen.
She said from the many hours spent designing her new kitchen to every member of the staff who installed the cabinets, she found everyone she worked with willing to explain what they were doing and why, and willing to answer her questions as they worked.
Paul Peterson said in addition to being good with their hands, one of the most important factors he considers when hiring someone new is attitude.
The company, which has had as many as 26 employees before the most recent and worst of the two the company’s survived, currently employs 20 people.
In addition to local projects, the company has taken on projects across the country, including the home of an executive in Seattle, Wash., and projects in Houston, Texas, Colorado and California.
“Our competition is companies from Minneapolis,” Paul Peterson said.