In a region that's rich with fine craftsmen and handmade products, Shaefferstown-based Plain & Factory Custom Cabinetry has built a reputation for exceptional quality and attention to detail, one door and one drawer at a time.
“We mix state-of-the-art equipment with careful handcraftsmanship,” said Shane Achey, Plain & Fancy’s marketing specialist and the first third-generation family member to work full-time for the family-owned business.
The custom cabinetry manufacturer has been a Central Pennsylvania staple for just shy of 50 years, dating back to 1968, when founder John Achey started making cabinets for his Richland, Pennsylvania, neighbors. John had worked in other small shops in the area before deciding to hang his own shingle, sawing, sanding and staining fine lumber into handmade cabinets out of a backyard garage beside an alley for the first few years. At the time, his wife and kids were his only help.
In 1972, with business increasing as word of mouth spread about his craftsmanship and dependability, John moved the operation to a small plant in Richland, where a main office was established and all the manufacturing was done.
What set his business apart then, and still does today, is not only the exceptional quality of the wood and the work, but the attention to detail from the point of sale to the delivery.
“Everything that goes through our plant is inspected very carefully — we make sure everything is the way we want it,” Shane said.
To focus on the craftsmanship, John established Plain & Fancy to be a business-to-business operation, working with retailers in many states that offer the company’s cabinetry, which comes in a staggering number of styles, colors and finishes. When orders come in from the company’s many dealers, engineers on staff help to make sure each measurement and detail of the order is in the company’s language and can be understood on the shop floor.
Plain & Fancy sources its hardwood from Pennsylvania and New England — hard maple and walnut are its most popular choices — and inspects each piece of lumber that arrives at its plant. The cabinets come with either full overlay doors or inset doors, and each inset door is hand-fitted to the front frame and then numbered to ensure that the finished product will indeed be a perfect fit.
In an age of increasingly automated manufacturing, Plain & Fancy cabinets include much time-tested craftsmanship by human hands. They use mortise and tenon joints, make dovetail drawer boxes, and the custom cutting department creates a lot of the special radius fronts, curved cabinets and other special pieces for customers. Plus, all of the stains and some specialty finishes are applied by hand.
“When they think of Plain & Fancy, mostly everybody thinks about our finish,” Shane said. “We have a very smooth finish. When customers walk into our dealer’s showrooms, once they feel our finish, they’re sold. It’s just above and beyond what others do.”
The company also offers custom color matching to just about anything a customer wants to match, from the hue in a family’s heirloom quilt to the shade of a customer’s favorite flower.
With that level of service, it’s no wonder the business has become such a well-known name in the industry. As its reputation has continued to grow, Plain & Fancy has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Architectural Digest and many other national publications.
In 1984, Schaefferstown became home to the company’s main offices and main plant, where the custom cutting department, panel processing, whitewood sanding, finishing, hardware, wrapping and shipping are all done. The mill plant, where the cabinet doors and door framing, front frames and some other solid stock pieces are made, stayed in Richland until 2004, when the company bought the building next door to its main plant and moved all operations together.
Today, Plain & Fancy is run by three of John’s children — George Achey, Jody Stoever and Nick Achey. The company’s 120 employees work from its 250,000-square-feet of space to create cabinets that serve countless homes and businesses east of the Mississippi River. Most importantly, the attention to detail doesn’t end when the order has been completed; Plain & Fancy delivers every order itself, opting not to outsource delivery of its cabinetry to anyone else.
“We have our own drivers and our own trucks,” Shane said. “That way we can control the quality; we think that’s an advantage.”
No matter how big it becomes, the Plain & Fancy family is happy to remain in Central Pennsylvania where it started.
“We have a lot of local suppliers, so that relationship is really beneficial. And the people in this area are a big help. It’s a real craftsmen type of area; there are a lot of cabinet manufacturers around here — some bigger and some smaller,” Shane said. “It seems to be an area that’s really rich in cabinet making.”
Original article published: http://www.cpbj.com/article/20170509/CPBJ01/170509829/familyowned-plain--fancy-custom-cabinetry-handcrafts-every-door-drawer?utm_source=CPBJ+Daily&utm_medium=Email&utm_term=http%3a%2f%2fwww.cpbj.com%2farticle%2f20170509%2fCPBJ01%2f170509829%2ffamilyowned-plain--fancy-custom-cabinetry-handcrafts-every-door-drawer&utm_campaign=Central+PA+Made+2017