Tuesday AM March 17th, 2009

Some businesses fare better than others in recessionary times. The kitchen and bath business, for example, in some part of the country, is actually up. Ed Mayberry reports.

image of modern kitchen

Pockets of the United States are suffering from the effects of the recession, but there are some areas where the kitchen and bath industry are actually growing.  The president of the National Kitchen and Bath Association is Suzie Williford, with Houston-based Kiva Kitchen & Bath.

“You know, the one beauty about the kitchen and bath industry is the fact that even when new construction is down, remodeling is generally up.  And so the first thing that people remodel in their homes is either their kitchen or their bath.  We still have a good amount of business in new construction.  We’re finishing a lot of things that were going on and then a lot of builders, what they’re doing, is they’re not building as many, but they’re still building.”

Williford has experienced downturns more than once over the years.  She says it’s a good time to evaluate your business.

“Sales hide a lot of sins.  So as business is really good, you start accumulating things that you really don’t need to have and you pay for things that, if you were really being more cost-conscious and trying to be more responsible with your expenditures, you wouldn’t be spending.  And so you take this time to prune your business and get it ready for the spring and really do a good job of getting more efficient.  Then when it starts to come back — and of course, it’s always cyclical, it will come back — then you’re in a much better position for growth when it does come back.”

Williford says Houston is still one of the top ten places to build.  The National Kitchen and Bath Association consists of 74 chapters and subchapters in the U.S. and Canada with some 40,000 members. 

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

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