Big technology in a small town
Cabinet shop uses technology and relationsips
to build major custom manufacturing operation.
SWI Interiors uses equipment like this Weinig Opticut crosscut saw for added flexibility in its manufacturing process and boosting growth.
Don’t be fooled by the Little House on the Prairie setting in Osage, Minnesota, popu- lation 323. SWI Interiors is
a prime example of a successful, modern
cabinetmaker with an eye to the future.
“My vision has always been to be a
large manufacturing company,” said
Steve Pachel, owner and CEO of SWI
Interiors. “But I am a born and raised
farm boy. After school, I left the farm for
a while and did some work re-finishing
furniture and making cabinets. But I
needed to be home. My folks had sold
the dairy operation, and as much as I
enjoy refinishing furniture, you can’t
grow it big. That’s always been some-
thing about me, I like to grow. So, in
1996 I started building cabinets in a tiny
400-square-foot shop in my grandfather’s
barn. In 2007 I bought the old mill in
Osage. Now we are at 36,000 square feet,
with 50 employees, and we’ll put out
1,250 units this year. I still don’t know
where the end is. We’re just going to
grow steady and profitable and see where
it takes us.”
Three fundamental and interrelated
principles allow SWI Interiors to not only
compete in the cutthroat market of cabi-
net manufacturing but to grow. Those
guiding principles are:
1. Providing turnkey service in addi-
tion to quality product.
2. Investing in technology, both pro-
duction and software.
3. Building supplier and customer
Turnkey custom cabinets
“We build custom cabinets and coun-
tertops, including a builder-grade line,
a semi-custom line and a fully-custom
line,” said Pachel. “Instead of trying to
compete with the big guys, our vision is
to provide turnkey solutions. We design,
build, final measure, install and touch
up all of our projects, making it easy for
SWI Interiors sells through wholesal-
ers, lumber yards, floor-to-ceiling design
centers and directly to big builders.
For 21-years, Pachel has methodically
expanded the turnkey cabinet approach,
setting up designers, installers and field
service representatives in new territories.
Currently SWI Interiors has an es-
tablished presence in Fargo-Moorhead,
Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Bismarck and
Grand Forks, N.D, Sioux Falls, S.D., and
is making inroads into Montana.
“Another unique thing is we can pro-
duce virtually any cabinet, so we don’t
really have a catalog. Instead we use KCD
Software customized to our methods,”
said Pachel. “When we set up a new
distributor, wholesaler or team member
they get a key to our KCD Designer.
They can design with any cabinet in our
library, modify it to any size, add any
finish. The software also works as a sales
tool, generating high-resolution render-