Colorado City and Hildale are known throughout the region as the home of a large workforce of talented builders and craftsmen. Throughout the history of the community, hard work and dedication have been a deeply held value. There are, however, few local opportunities to practice and pass on those skills to the upcoming generations. Local craftsmen, Clinton Barlow and Brigham Holm, are hoping to help change that. Three months ago, they started a cabinet business in Hildale, with the hopes of passing on their knowledge of the trade to their families, provide local employment opportunities, and contribute to a thriving local economy.
Custom Kraft Cabinetry is the name of their business. They have partnered with a larger cabinet manufacturer out of the Salt Lake City area, drastically lowering their overhead costs while still being able to deliver high-quality cabinets that can be custom designed for any project. They send in a design, and the cabinets come to them prefabricated and pre-drilled for assembly, along with all the hardware. From there they assemble, finish, and install the cabinets. According to Clinton, “It’s really self-explanatory how they all go together. It’s easy for someone to catch on to. That’s why I’m thinking this would be a really good after-school job for some of these kids coming up.”
They have quite a bit of flexibility in what they can offer and can custom order nearly anything, whether that be a couple new cabinet doors, an entire set of doors, or an entire kitchen cabinet set. “They’re actually nicer and cheaper than if we were building them ourselves at this point,” says Clinton. One neat option that they will have in the future, through their cabinet provider, is a virtual reality system that can be used to walk through a kitchen design. “You put the virtual reality headset on, and you can walk through your kitchen and get a feel for what your kitchen will look like and troubleshoot any problems,” says Clinton. They plan on moving into fabrication in the future as they build their business.
“We are working with several contractors in St. George, with 50 homes projected next year,” says Clinton. Both Brigham and Clinton have extensive experience in the industry. Brigham has worked in everything from installation and building to management and design, in various industries. Clinton has over 20 years of experience in finishing cabinets. “It’s a really rewarding job. When you get done, it’s what the customer actually sees.” They are expecting to take on more work as construction in the St. George area grows.
Their goals go beyond just building a profitable business. According to Clinton, “We want to be the kind of shop, where we work shoulder to shoulder with our guys. We experience things together, we’re learning together. It’s that kind of spirit that we want to bring back to this community.” Most workers in the area are familiar with the commute to outlying communities for work. That can be both a hindrance to local service businesses, with money being spent in other places, additional expenses such as gas and car maintenance, and a strain to the family, tacking a two-hour drive onto the work day. “Most of my career, I’ve driven to St. George. Because of the requirements of the shop, I couldn’t bring my kids. That was a big motivation for starting my own business,” says Clinton. “We want to be a part of bringing fathers and their sons back together. This is a family based business, and we want fathers to be able to bring their sons here and build something. My son, Trevin, won a championship trophy for the boy’s football league. The first thing we did is come over and make a little shelf and sprayed it for him to put his trophy in. Something that seems so small is something I wasn’t able to do before, working out of town,” he says.
Another of their goals is to be open to young people and help pass on the traditions of quality work and craftsmanship that have been a fundamental part of our community’s identity. For young people, it can be difficult to navigate the job market without connections, skills, and guidance. They hope to be a place that offers those skills to the youth who are coming up. “I want to shift people’s focus to the young people because they are our future. We’ve already lived half our lives, but those guys are just beginning. If we want them to have the passion that we have for what we do, we have to show them how to do that,” says Clinton.
Custom Kraft Cabinets can be contacted on their Facebook page or by phone.
Clinton Barlow: 435-691-3353
Brigham Holm: 801-404-2505