Shop owner develops
computer and video
technology to compete in
the down economy
At a glance
Who: Levi Mize
What: Woodcraftsman Inc.
Where: Camarillo, Calif.
Plant size: 5,000 square feet
Web site: www.leviinc.com
Back in 2007, Levi Mize was enjoying
running a thriving six-man custom cabinet shop with CNC equipment and an
emphasis on a strong team. But located
in Camarillo, Calif., his Woodcraftsman
Inc. is at the center of the real estate
collapse and subsequent economic crisis
that has so dramatically changed the
landscape for the woodworking industry.
Mize couldn’t escape those changes,
and like lots of shops he’s faced a cutback in business. But unlike most, he’s
developed new technologies and tactics
to better compete and prepare himself
for eventual recovery.
Before the downturn, Mize was
already a veteran user and enthusiastic
advocate of computer design software,
working with Planit Solutions Cabinet
Vision. But now he has found a way to
make that an even better marketing tool
by pairing it with remote meeting capabilities. He’s also explored the power of
Levi Mize has used computer technology to better market his business during the down economy.
+ Watch the video:
To see a promotional video Levi
Mize created himself for his
business, look on the bottom of
this Web page: http://imageevent.
video for marketing.
Most custom cabinet shops spend
a lot of time on the road or in the office
to meet with clients. And when dealing with busy modern homeowners,
it’s often difficult to get everyone in the
same room at the same time. Mize found
a great solution to that problem in the
form of Citrix software’s Go ToMyPC and
Go ToMeeting products.
“Instead of going to a client’s home,
they can join me on my computer wherever they are,” says Mize. “Everybody
loves it.” Clients can more easily put
a design meeting into their schedule.
“They can eat dinner, put the kids to bed
and sit down at the computer.” Working
remotely, Mize can share his computer
screen over the Internet with the clients
by William Sampson
Mize uses virtual meeting software
to meet remotely with clients
wherever and whenever is most
convenient for them. He can share
his computer screen and show
them designs in Cabinet Vision by
software from Citrix.
wherever they are. He can
show them design details and options
available in his Cabinet Vision program,
making it an even more powerful presentation tool.
Being able to offer this service gives
Mize a big competitive advantage. “The
big thing people like now is the convenience of not having to leave home.” He
explains how a woman in Michigan was
planning a project for a home she bought
in California and was trying to choose a
cabinetmaker. She was worried that she
would have to make multiple expensive
and time-consuming trips to not only
select the shop but to work through the
design with the chosen builder. As soon
as Mize explained his virtual meeting
service, she gave him the job.
Initially, Mize thought that was the
kind of customer the service would appeal to most, expanding his reach farther
beyond his immediate market. But that
hasn’t really been the case. “I thought it
would appeal to longer distance clients,
but the local people love it, too,” he says.
He describes a situation where a
man, he’d done a kitchen for, was hav-
ing lunch with some friends in the area
and started talking about his cabinet-
maker and the neat virtual meeting
wherever they are. He can