24 5 / 2013
A small kitchen can be really frustrating when trying to maneuver around and cook, especially when you aren’t the only one in the kitchen… running into people left and right, jostling hot pots and pans, and attempting not to spill your homemade lasagna on whomever is nearby! Here’s a few tips that we’ve found that might be helpful for making your small kitchen appear to be much larger.
1. Paint Color
Paint your kitchen white or a light pastel-like colors because the light will easily reflect off of these colors making your kitchen seems larger. Make sure all of the colors match. Try not to use busy patterns or lots of colors that make your kitchen seem crowded and smaller. Dark colors will make the room seem smaller, too.
2. Open the Curtains
Let extra light illuminate the room by opening curtains and doors that lead to brighter rooms. Letting light inside will make any room seem larger. In addition to this, overhead or pendant lighting, instead of lamps that will take up counter space, is useful for providing additional lighting without the price of less space to utilize.
3. Cabinets and Flooring
Use a light color for your cabinets and floor as well. Choose flooring and cabinets that are simple and free from lots of details or designs. If you are using tile on the floor, make sure you choose tiles and grout that match so that people won’t be able to easily see the lines on the floor. When choosing cabinets, glass doors will also help make the kitchen look smaller because they will reflect light.
4. Use Stainless Steel
Use stainless steel wherever you can in your kitchen because it will reflect light. You can choose stainless steel appliances or even have a stainless steel backsplash to brighten up the room.
5. Clear Clutter
A cluttered kitchen makes it seem even smaller. Keep items put away and off the countertops through making use of drawer, cabinet, and shelving space. Keep the kitchen clean and items like flour, sugar, or any other large containers off the counter. You can also purchase smaller cooking accessories if you really need to save space.
Making your kitchen seem larger is very simple. There’s no need to have a construction crew come in, knock out walls, and revamp the whole kitchen. It’s simply a matter of keeping your kitchen clean, light and orderly. If you have any more quick tips, let us know!
14 5 / 2013
Federal Brace attended the Kitchen and Bath Industry show for the 4th year in a row this past April. It is always an exciting event and this year did not disappoint. As always there were lots of exciting events and creative exhibit booths to see.
Even though it was our fourth year attending, there were a lot of firsts this year for us. Federal Brace entered our first floor entry into the Best of KBIS this year and it was a challenge getting it set up and taken down. But as you can read in our recent newsletter, it was all worth it. Our entry won People’s Choice for the Best of KBIS.
Federal Brace also had our first peninsula booth, which required a different configuration of the booth. That in itself is always an adventure. But again, it was all worth it as we had a great location and met with many of you at the show. We always enjoy getting to see our dealers and distributors at this show. It is a good opportunity to see and touch new products that have been released during the past year. It is also a good way for us to get feedback on what is working to better serve our customers.
One more first for Federal Brace was introducing our first lighted bracket line and they were a big hit! LED lighting was the talk of the show this year. We stirred lots of interest in how they work and how soon can I get one? Be sure to check them out at Our Lighted Brackets.
Since our return, four new dealers have signed on and will be bringing the products out in their designs. You can see who they are on our Facebook Page.
All in all the show was most rewarding. We met lots of new people that need our product, won peoples choice for our new lighted bracket, and filmed a video commercial, (also a first).
KBIS is always on our mind, either planning, preparing, or attending. See you next year.
25 4 / 2013
Did you know about our Shelf Kits?
Our kits come with two Federal Brace brackets, your choice of the popular Bel Adora or Durham glass design with Artisan glass. Shelf styles include a paintable or stainable, High Density Fiberboard wood composite shelf, an Artisan Glass Shelf or a Brushed Stainless Steel Shelf.
What about our Floating Shelf Kits?
The Floating Shelf Kit comes with a High Density Fiberboard; which can be painted or stained. High Density Fiberboard is a wood composite also known as hardboard. It is harder and stronger due to the high compression of wood fibers. The kit has three strong support rods that are hidden when the shelf is mounted. The floating shelf can be installed in various patterns to create a work of art.
Federal Brace Shelf Kits have everything you need for storing your collectibles or just for an eye-catching statement of elegance and high-style.
18 4 / 2013
This week’s spotlight blog focuses on Innovative Surfaces out of Hastings, Minnesota, who recently joined Federal Brace’s Dealer Program.
Innovative Surfaces, Inc. has been in the countertop fabrication and installation business for over 30 years. The countertop selection and installation process can be difficult, but companies like Innovative Surfaces, Inc. guarantees to make the process easier for customers. With an unmatched attention to detail and a staff with great customer service skills, Innovative Surfaces, Inc. always gives customers a quality countertop they will love. Innovative Surfaces, Inc.’s staffs are fully trained and experienced and are always willing to help with quartz, natural stone, specialty surfaces or solid surfaces needs.
Recently they opened a new selection center and installed three stainless steel Valencia countertop supports from our product line. We’re happy to highlight them in this week’s Federal Brace Spotlight Blog. If you are in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area and are looking for an unparalleled countertop experience, check out the fine folks at Innovative Surfaces.
Innovative Surfaces, Inc.
2620 Industrial Court
Hastings, MN 55033
Phone (651) 437-1004
Fax (651) 480-8191
Toll-Free (800) 806-8262
12 4 / 2013
This week’s spotlight blog focuses on Kitchen Concepts out of Lexington, Kentucky. They are a design company that focuses on one to one consultation and competitive pricing. Recently, they joined our Federal Brace’s Dealer Program.
If you’re in the housing market or you’re looking to renovate your home in the Central Kentucky region consider placing your order with them for shorter lead times and installation quality that is unparalleled. They can accommodate any budget and their product lines include a wide variety of wood species and finishes, with styles to suit every possible taste. They offer laminate, solid surfaces, granite, quartz and cultured marble countertops. A well put together showroom offers a large and comprehensive selection.
One particular Kitchen Concepts designer, Steven Wyatt, recently purchased several Federal Brace Decorative Countertop Brackets. These stainless steel beauties can now be seen in a large residential project orchestrated by Kitchen Concepts design staff. They have many talented designers on staff available to help you plan and design your kitchen. We are proud to have them as part of our program. Thank you Kitchen Concepts for this look at your company in this weeks’ Dealer Designer Spotlight Blog.
112 Mt. Tabor
Kitchen Concepts Showroom
4001 Mail Road
Lexington, KY 40503
03 4 / 2013
If you’re in Hawaii looking to build a new home or renovate your current home make sure you check out Kitchen Cabinets Inc. located in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. They have over thirty years’ experience in serving the Kona, Hawaii area. They also now provide Federal Brace supports. Recently, KCI has used our supports in several of their designs and will be able to show you how great they look when installed.
KCI is a remodeling specialist providing services to homeowners, contractors, major developments and state housing projects. They work throughout the entire island, neighboring islands and the mainland. KCI will supply all products and materials needed to achieve your dreams in the kitchen, bathroom, entertainment center, and custom closet or storage area. They supply quality products including cabinets, appliances, countertops, flooring, fixtures, hardware, lanai furniture and window coverings.
KCI Cabinets, Inc works with many different styles including sleek European inspired minimalism. We are proud to introduce KCI Cabinets as one of our outstanding Federal Brace dealers. Their belief in creating functional and personal spaces to satisfy design needs matches well with the goal we have at Federal Brace – to help people. Again, if you are in the Hawaii area, please contact this wonderful team of professional kitchen and bath designers.
Kitchen Cabinets, Inc.
73-5620 Kauhola Street, Bay
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Show Room Hours
21 12 / 2012
Original Article by NBC News
Apple CEO Tim Cook’s announcement earlier this month that the company will start building Macs closer to home in 2013 was seen as a milestone that could help jump-start U.S. manufacturing.
But over the past few years, factories in the American South from the Carolinas to Alabama to Kentucky have already experienced such a rebirth.
Both U.S. and foreign companies have opened plants in southeastern states in recent years, many since the end of the recession. Others are expanding existing plants or have plans to break ground in 2013.
In South Carolina, Boeing builds 787 Dreamliners just north of Charleston, and Starbucks roasts coffee beans in St. Matthews, outside Columbia. General Electric is once again making water heaters and refrigerators at its gigantic Appliance Park plant in Louisville, Ky. A Mobile, Ala., shipyard run by Austal USA is growing so quickly that in the past two years the Australian company’s workforce has swollen from 800 to 3,300.
Over the past year, North Carolina’s Secretary of Commerce Keith Crisco says about 80 percent of the new companies coming to the state involved some form of manufacturing. “That’s a big number for us, and the jobs are better than they were,” he said.
Companies are taking advantage of state- and local-funded business incentives and convenient transportation routes, as well as the Southeastern U.S.’s lower cost of living and a largely non-union labor force that’s inexpensive relative to other parts of the country.
Although hundreds of thousands of factory jobs have disappeared in the South and across the country over the past two decades due to automation and outsourcing to cheaper labor markets in China, Vietnam and elsewhere, the United States remains a manufacturing powerhouse. The country still produces 18.2 percent of the world’s manufactured goods, edging out China‘s 17.6 percent, according to thelatest figures from the National Association of Manufacturers and World Bank.
Today, however, even Chinese companies are building factories in the Southeast, ducking rising labor costs at home, and to be closer to customers and take advantage of the region’s pro-business policies. One of the first was appliance maker Haier Group, which opened a $40 million refrigerator factory in Camden, S.C., a dozen years ago. One of the latest is Lenovo Group Ltd., which operates a fulfillment center in Whitsett, N.C. In October, Lenovo announced plans to begin making ThinkPads there in 2013, adding an estimated 115 jobs to an existing workforce of 2,200.
While factory jobs haven’t returned to pre-recession levels, they’re getting there. In Georgia and Tennessee, manufacturing employment grew 3 percent in the 12 months ending in October, nearly twice the national average of 1.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Factory employment was above average in Alabama (2.9 percent), South Carolina (2.4 percent) and Mississippi (2 percent) as well.
“It’s a business climate like you won’t find anywhere else,” says Doug Woodward, an economics professor at the University of South Carolina and incoming president of the North American Regional Science Council, which studies local economies.
Low-cost labor is one of the region’s big draws. Economists cite the lack of a large union presence as a benefit since it allows companies to move factory workers from job to job as needs change. In seven Southern states, union members account for less than 5 percent of the workforce. That’s less than half of the 11.8 percent national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“It’s all about flexibility,” Brian Leathers, senior vice president and chief financial officer for Austal USA, told NBC News. “Because we treat our people properly — benefits, pay, safe working conditions — there’s not a need for representation.”
However, critics point to academic and economic research showing that in right-to-work states, wages and benefits are lower. “They’re just not as well compensated,” says Matthew W. Finkin, an employment law expert and professor at the University of Illinois’ law school . “So they’re creating more jobs and giving more work to people, but they’re not giving the benefits and other aspects of employee protections (workers would) have in other states if they were in (a) union.”
The local chapter of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association has been unsuccessful in three attempts to organize Austal’s Mobile, Ala., shipyard. A representative of Local 441 could not be reached for comment. A representative of the SMWIA’s national office declined to comment.
Crisco maintains that manufacturing jobs coming into the South pay more because they require more technical skills. He argues that right-to-work laws are only one factor drawing companies to the region, along with generous workforce training programs and incentives such as tax breaks that South Carolina gives to companies making substantial capital investments in the area. “Sure, it’s controversial about incentives, but in terms of locating manufacturing jobs here, it’s been fairly successful,” Woodward says.
Here’s a look at activity in a handful of southern states where manufacturing jobs are on the rise:
South Carolina’s manufacturing industry lost 100,000 jobs during the 2000s before the 2007-2009 recession wiped out another 40,000, Woodward says.
Recent moves by Boeing, BMW, Michelin, and other tire and auto parts manufacturers and durable goods makers to open or expand factories have reversed that trend. Boeing alone created 8,000 new jobs in the past two years, Woodward says. “We’ve gained 10,000 to 15,000 jobs,” he says. “Our immediate prospects are very good, but it’s going to be a long road if we’re going to recover” historic manufacturing employment levels.
In January, BMW said it would add 300 people to an existing workforce of 7,000 at a highly automated auto manufacturing plant in Greer, the company’s largest factory outside of Germany. The expansion will to boost annual production to 350,000 by 2014. “The deep roots of the workforce here in manufacturing are really helpful and we developed a close relationship with the local tech colleges to improve our workforce,” BMW Manufacturing President Josef Kerscher said in a late November talk at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business. “I’m really satisfied seeing how well prepared our workforce is for advanced manufacturing.”
The textile and apparel makers that made up the bulk of North Carolina’s traditional manufacturing sector “left and are not coming back,” Crisco says. They’re being replaced with companies like Lenovo, which is moving ThinkPad manufacturing to the state from Mexico.
Jeld-Wen, an Oregon-based window and door maker, announced on Dec. 13 that it is moving its North American headquarters to Charlotte, adding 142 management and administrative jobs. The company already operates two manufacturing plants in the area with 2,200 employees.
In 2012, manufacturing accounts for 20 percent of North Carolina’s gross domestic product, and that doesn’t include recently announced deals that will add to manufacturing employment in the near future, Crisco says.
In Mobile, Austal is building high-speed, aluminum ships for the U.S. Navy, made to quickly deliver troops to a war zone or disaster area.
Though mega deals like the one with Airbus get the most attention, 94 percent of factories in the tri-county area around Mobile are domestic, says chamber spokeswoman Susan Rak-Blanchard. Attracting smaller companies that bring 50 to 150 jobs to the area has been “our bread and butter over the years,” she says.
The number of people working at GE’s famed Appliance Park industrial complex in Louisville peaked at 23,000 in the early 1970s before starting to drop a decade later and hitting bottom in 2011 at less than 2,000, according to a recent report in The Atlantic. In February, the company returned to the plant, making low-energy water heaters there instead of having them built by a Chinese contractor. A month later, GE moved a refrigerator assembly line from Mexico to the plant, according to the report.
(GE is a minority owner in NBCUniversal.)
So far, GE has poured $800 million into revamping manufacturing operations at the facility, including $150 million on a new dishwasher assembly line. According to the company, factory workers helped design the line to be faster and safer, and as a result per-unit production time has dropped 65 percent.
“Companies are looking for a lower cost place to do business and a skilled workforce,” said David King, Central South Carolina Alliance marketing vice president. “It doesn’t get more basic than that.”
18 12 / 2012
14 12 / 2012
13 12 / 2012