Cabinets & Closets 2013 Opens BigEDISON, NJ – Reviving home building and an increasingly robust remodeling trend are casting a glow of optimism around Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo 2013.

Keynoting the opening sessions this morning was Robert Reiss, host of the "CEO Show with Robert Reiss," and a columnist of Forbes.

Reiss, known for his interviews of legendary business leaders - he has interviewed Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus, and Frank Kelleher, CEO of Southwest Airlines - distilled key wisdom gleaned from six years of interviews of top U.S. CEOs, also summarized in his book, the Transformative CEO.

Cabinets & Closets 2013 Opens Big

Robert Reiss: How to Be aTransformative CEO

• Stake Claim to New Value
• Have a Higher Purpose
• Culture Is CEO's Job 1
• Learn in Other Industries
• Spot and Ride Waves of Change
• Recycle Waste
• Know Obstacles Carry Hidden Solutions

Cabinets & Closets 2013 Opens Big

The redesigned conference also heard the results of a new benchmark study by Vance Research, examining business outlook and make-up of cabinet makers and closets companies. Since the two segments are increasingly called into each other's sphere of business, Woodworking Network VP Laurel Didier commissioned a study to examine the trend.

The study measured the business behaviors of 58,000 firms surveyed, 79 percent of whom are providing kitchen and bath cabients, 44 percent building commercial (or business customer) cabinets; 29 percent see themselves as closets providers, 24 percent say they are garage systems providers and closet retailers (closet firms who don't manufacture, but design and/or install.)

While 72 percent of those surveyed do residential projects and 66 percent focus on kitchens, they are moving into non residential areas in a quest for news business: 13 percent do office space, 11 percent do projects for healthcare operations; and 10 percent do public buildings and retail space.

The research also shows 48 percent doing frameless cabinets and 47 percent doing traditional framed cabinets. A copy of the study, which also identifies hardware trends and upsell opportunities in the closets segment, is available from Laurel Didier at Woodworking Network.

After Didier's presentation, the conference portion of the newly expanded event then split into two tracks - one for cusom cabinet makers, the other for businesses engaged in cloisets manufacture, design and installation.

Cabinets & Closets 2013 Opens BigAt a networking luncheon, Cynthia Cowell, public information officer for the U.S. Small Business Administration, hosted a table discussion for businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy. Cowell works in SBA's Office of Disaster Assistance and is based in Edison, NJ in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

At an evening gala awards event, for the first time the Custom Woodworking Design Portfolio winners received their awards. Following the gala, the Cabinet Makers Association hosted a networking dinner at Harold's Famous Deli. More than 20 cabient makers and closets companies shared the amazingly large sandwiches - some feed six people - from the deli's kitchen.

The conference concludes today at the Sheraton Raritan Hotel, to be followed tomorrow by a sold-out Cabinets & Closets Expo in the nearby New Jersey Convention Center, Edison, NJ.

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