Great Lake Woods, Inc.
Keith Malmstadt purchased a 33 percent interest in Great Lake Woods, Inc. in 1993 and acquired majority ownership by 2005. Under his leadership, the company has grown from a small residential moldings and millwork company with 35 employees to over 160 employees today.
Great Lake Woods, Inc. received an SBA 504 loan for $625,000 in 1989 to help the company with its growth needs. In 1993, the company had 35 employees, 20 customers and negative growth. With aggressive marketing and improved customer service, the company grew by 50 percent in 1994. But by 1995, a quickly changing market and declining industry sales resulted in lower margins and stagnant growth. The following year, Malmstadt completely changed the focus of the company, becoming a wood component manufacturer for the furniture, kitchen and bath industries. Today, more than 99 percent of the products sold are the result of this decision.
Keith has worked hard on recruitment and in-house training to meet the company’s need for skilled employees. In 1999 Keith became involved with WoodLINKS, a unique training program with a focus on high school students. By developing young talent through this program, Great Lake Woods, Inc. has been able to attract and retain valuable employees. By 2005, over 80 schools participated in the WoodLINKS program.
Today, Great Lake Woods, Inc. continues its aggressive introduction of new products, processes, and diversity. After the furniture industry suffered tough losses in 2001, Great Lake Woods increased their focus on kitchen, bath and store fixture industries and the transition has been successful. In 2003, the company purchased an additional 45,000 square foot building to house their growing business.