Acorn Wood Designs
Founded in 1984, Vancouver based Acorn Wood Designs Limited specializes in precision architectural millwork. The company has grown from a single-person operation into a high-tech woodwork manufacturer, employing some 25 craftspeople, providing woodwork products highly regarded locally, nationally and throughout the United States.
Hans Verbeek, the President and CEO of Acorn Wood Designs joined Acorn as he was incredibly attracted by the quality woodwork and Acorn’s reputation, seeing that the company was very well positioned for growth and profitability, as its products and project execution offered a definite upside in the marketplace.
Acorn’s core business focuses on the hospitality industry, providing services to restaurants, hotels and retail stores. “We have long standing relationships with the Joey Restaurant Group, The Keg Steakhouse and Bar, and Earls Restaurants Ltd. just to mention a few, but we are very proud of all our client relationships,” says Verbeek. “Our expertise, quality building methods, impeccable attention to detail and deep knowledge of restaurant millwork gives us a unique competitive advantage because we can build quality millwork at a competitive price while providing years of expertise to the restaurateurs. Acorn is one stop shopping for custom woodwork.”
Besides servicing the hospitality industry, Acorn Wood Designs had built extensive relationships in the industry, and it’s work is commissioned by retail and corporate clients, architects, exhibit fabricators, contractors, developers, graphic design firms, interior and industrial designers and others who need quality craftsmanship and access to advanced knowledge and versatility to handle a wide variety of challenges.
As with many industries, Acorn Wood Designs provides services in a mature, highly diversified and competitive industry facing challenges in regards to uniqueness of most of the woodwork projects clients seek to create. To remain competitive, the company strives to retain the most skilled craftspeople available, however, according to Verbeek, it is becoming more and more challenging to find suitable craftsmen, as the population ages and more skilled trades people retire.
“Skilled craftspeople are in high demand and we want to train and develop our own craftsmen. We have a great name in the industry so we do have several apprentices in training to fill the market gap. We provide in-house training, developing tenure in staff, and providing a fun and rewarding work environment.
This is how we plan to combat the situation and I believe the key to success is in making sure the quality of work and productivity are protected long term.”
Economic fluctuations represent another significant challenge as they translate into fluctuations in Acorn’s business portfolio. “It is not easy to adjust to the fluctuating business conditions and downward pricing in the manufacturing sector, and we work very hard to align this economic fact with our production cost.
That’s why we are expanding our business portfolio to create a more balanced portfolio that provides fewer fluctuations in the activity curve.”
While the value of a skilled and experienced craftsman can never be replaced, Acorn works hard to provide its people with the latest and most comprehensive set of automated tools to allow them to present the best of their skill. Acorn is fully computerized, offering the latest CNC equipment to produce both one-off custom and short-run production pieces; and the company also offers clients in-house finishing and installation services.
Plans & Projects
The company continues to build on its core business in B.C., but the millwork the company builds is not restricted to local markets, and is easily exportable provincially or to the USA; and Acorn has already completed a number of projects in Ontario, Arizona and Colorado.
As far as projects go, the Acorn craftsmen always enjoy a challenge as much as the company partners enjoy experimenting with different looks and new designs for restaurants; and Acorn gets involved beyond just building millwork, serving as consultants to its partners’ projects. “We make recommendations to our partners and always try out new products, and we work closely with our clientele to provide the best and most unique product and solution possible. We work as a team and our staff brings their unique expertise to the table with a singular goal — to ensure that our customer service is beyond exemplary, and that every commission is the very best. Working with our clients and delivering the best possible and the most creative solution is what makes us proud of our work.”
Awards & Accolades
In 2008 Acorn joined the BC chapter of Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada (AWMAC). In 2009, the Association awarded Acorn the Gold Award of Excellence for Service for Acorn’s work on an export project for The Keg Restaurant in Tempe, Ariz.; and again in 2010 for Earl’s Bellevue in Seattle, Wash.; and the company received the Excellence of Quality Award Silver, for its work on Joey Restaurant in Burnaby B.C.
While the influx of cheap offshore imports continues to challenge the industry, this challenge pertains to those who are in less custom oriented millwork. Acorn continues to look for more efficient building methods, efficient machinery upgrades, and building a strong and motivated team. “We build a high quality product and provide second to none service. I strongly believe that as long as we stick to our values that our place in the market will be secure and offer healthy opportunities for growth.”