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Upstate CNC Service, Inc.
One-man Shop Sells Components
Looking to Grow
"I am still working out of a converted garage adjacent to my house," he explains. "I have not quite 1,600 square feet, which includes an 800-square-foot addition I put on in 2002, plus a trailer in the back that I use for storage, and where I have installed a spray booth. But the next step, which I have started planning, will be a separate 10,000 square-foot building with optimized workflow, a proper loading dock and a few full-time employees.
"I am going to allow this business to go to whatever level it wants," Farmer says .He draws inspiration from Henry Ford, whose statement, "Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're absolutely right," is prominently displayed on the desk in his office. Farmer achieved this growth while he battled cancer for nine years and held down a demanding day job for 22 of the 25 years he has been processing wood products.
Farmer promotes the CNC-driven components business only on the Internet, "plus some word-of-mouth." He says it has taken off on a scale that even he finds surprising. "In 2006, I got so busy with the parts that I more or less abandoned the kitchen side of the business. Then, early in 2007, two local developments made it very attractive to dive back in. "One was the closing of a very large regional chain of big-box home improvement centers. The other was the closing of the leading high-end custom cabinet supplier in our area. Suddenly, I was getting lots of calls asking about kitchens. My first job was done as a favor for a good customer, and before I knew it, we had more jobs than we could easily handle. The only thing that made it feasible was the CNC router, which performs more tasks than I ever imagined."
When Farmer's fellow workers at Kodak were spending bonus money on a boat or a vacation, he was plowing money back into his business. "Eventually, I did go on vacation, and I bought a boat too. Even that turned into a moneymaker, by the way. I needed a new hatch cover for my boat, and I built it out of stock parts. The marina owner saw it, liked it and told Sea Ray about it. The next thing I knew I was building hundreds of hatch covers for Sea Ray."I don't agree with anyone who says you can't make money in the woodworking business," he says.
Company name: Upstate CNC Service Inc.
Location: Hilton, New York
Proprietor: Tom Farmer
Year Founded: 1982, Incorporated 2005
Primary Products: Component Parts; Residental Kitchens
Annual Sales: $100,000.00 (est.)
Number of Employees: 1
Shop Size: Roughly 1600 square feet plus a finishing booth
Key Equipment: 2 Techno CNC Routers, Grizzly Bandsaw,
Grizzly Drum Sander, Homemade Vertical Pan Saw
1982 Tom Farmer produces picture frames and accessories and sells them to his friends and neighbors.
1987 Under the name TMF Custom Wood Products, Thomas Michael Farmer works on building stereo cabinets for a locally based electronics company.
1991 Farmer builds a 24-by-32-foot shop in a detached garage and equips it with a jointer, planer and small band saw. All sanding is done by hand. He solicits kitchen remodeling jobs and, within the next 11 years, completes approximately 100 kitchens.
2002 Farmer creates a 20-by-40-foot addition to his shop and adds a Techno CNC router. In the ensuing years, he helps pay for the machine by working out an arrangement with the vendor to stage two-day shows twice a year at his shop to show off the company's machine and sing its praises to prospects. Other equipment in the shop includes a Grizzly GO5 bandsaw and 24-inch double drum sander. He also has a homemade vertical panel saw.
2004 Under the name Upstate CNC Service, Farmer works on the components end of the business. He will cut virtually any kind of wood or plastic part, as well as the more customary cabinet doors and drawer boxes.
2005 Farmer incorporates, giving his company an infrastructure that includes approved methods for accounting, liability insurance and everything else it will need to grow to the next level.
Alan Richman is a New Jersey-based freelance writer specializing in the wood processing industry.
Updated: Jan 17, 2008 This article appeared in CM, December 2007. © Copyright 2008, All Rights Reserved.
*This article has been reproduced for the Techno CNC Router Systems Website with permission from: