According to Brianne Johnson, director of marketing with DeWils Fine Cabinetry, one of the great challenges of a family business, particularly one with multiple family members, is to make sure everyone has their own particular niche that they can grow and thrive in.
“In the case of (DeWils’ owners) Randy and Tracy (Wilson), Tracy’s interest and aptitudes were in the sales/marketing area, while Randy’s was always production/operations,” Johnson said. “This created a very effective/synergistic relationship. Thus far, it appears that the third generation is tracking well in that respect.”
Johnson, who is one of those third generation family members currently working for the family business, said DeWils – a manufacturer of fine custom cabinetry – was founded by Duane Wilson in 1959. The company has been owned and operated by Duane Wilson’s sons, Tracy and Randy Wilson (wives Lynda and Machele Wilson) since the late 1980s. Under their guidance, Johnson said, “they took the Northwest regional company from a few million dollars in revenue to an international concern with approximately $40 million in sales.”
Tracy Wilson’s three daughters – Brianne Johnson (director of marketing), Cerisse Banse-Fay-Wilson (retail showroom manager) and Kelsey Kertzman (territory sales manager) – and son-in-law Alex Banse-Fay (retail operations manager) are currently involved in the DeWils business. Additionally, Randy Wilson’s two children – Krystal Scott (human resources manager) and Nick Wilson (production manager) work in the business as well.
DeWils sells through a network of more than 300 independent kitchen dealers throughout the U.S., Canada, Japan, Guam, Australia and Bermuda. Johnson said the key advantage they find with DeWils being a privately owned family business in their industry is that over the last 20 years most of the national brands have been acquired by very large conglomerates or private equity groups.
“Dealers in our industry are still small owner/operator retailers who prefer the close personal relationship that a firm like ours offers,” Johnson said.
When it comes to why Clark County became the place where DeWils originated, Johnson said the area became DeWils’ home as a result of its founder having been raised here.
According to an excerpt from Tracy and Randy Wilson on the DeWils’ website: “Fifty years ago, our father started building custom cabinets by hand. A true craftsman, he valued detail, quality materials and service that felt like family. Those values were passed down to my brother and I, and for the past 20 years we have seen our father’s small business turn into a company built on exceptional quality and the promise to go above and beyond. That’s how he raised us, and that’s what has made DeWils grow into the finest that custom cabinetry has to offer.”
“It’s now going on three generations of owners who have grown up and lived in Clark County their entire lives,” Johnson said. “The company has always been very involved in the community, from supporting Little League baseball all the way back in the 60s and 70s, to a wide variety of local charities and community events and organizations. The wife of Tracy Wilson, Lynda Wilson, has even gone on to represent our community as a state senator.”
“It is the plan for DeWils to continue bucking the trend of our industry and go on remaining an independent family business.”
DeWils is located at 12907 NE Fourth Plain Road, in Vancouver.