Wadel Kitchens moves and expands It's no longer mom-and-pop scale

September 13, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

WESTMINSTER -- Wadel Kitchen Planning is in a new building and on its way to a new image.

"We're sort of a mom-and-pop deal, and we're changing that," said Mark N. Wadel, who operated the business out of the trunk of his car 30 years ago.

Last month, Mr. Wadel, 52, moved the business from 215 E. Main St. to 1010 Baltimore Boulevard, next to The Cove restaurant and across from Friendly Farms restaurant. The Main Street store had been open 17 years.

He plans to spend $80,000 to $100,000 to renovate his new space, a two-story modular home that housed a video and satellite business. He plans to open a showroom next month.

Renovations include a glass foyer and a new brick front on the 2,100-square-foot building, which Mr. Wadel said he bought for $250,000 from Robert E. Kegel, a longtime friend who recently closed Kegel's appliance store on Manchester Road.

With the move comes a new emphasis on sales and marketing, Mr. Wadel said. The company's first employee to work in that area -- Zeth Shipley of Eldersburg -- starts tomorrow.

Most of Wadel Kitchen's customers are in Carroll and Baltimore counties. Mr. Shipley will work to expand the customer base in the metropolitan Baltimore area and Montgomery County, Mr. Wadel said.

The business provides "high end" kitchen and bathroom renovations and sells appliances, he said. "That is our forte," said Mr. Wadel, who does design and drafting work. He learned the business from Mennonite and Amish cabinetmakers in Pennsylvania.

The average cost of a Wadel kitchen renovation is $12,000, but Mr. Wadel said he has done jobs ranging from $2,000 to $46,000.

Westminster surgeon John E. Steers has been a customer since Mr. Wadel worked from an office so small that Dr. Steers could stand in the middle and touch both walls with his fingers.

"He's a gentleman, a highly competent businessman and talented," Dr. Steers said. In 1975, the surgeon designed a country kitchen with cherry cabinets for his Westminster home, and Mr. Wadel drew the plan and had the cabinets custom made. "To this day, I walk through the kitchen and marvel," Dr. Steers said.

Mr. Wadel also plans to expand his business by working more with developers and architects when they're planning custom homes, he said. "We're excited about the future, even though the economy is bad," Mr. Wadel said.

Mr. Wadel expects sales to increase five-fold over the next two years. In 1991, sales were about $200,000. In two years, he hopes sales will be $1 million.

The company has five employees, and Mr. Wadel said he expects to hire about six more within a year.

Mr. Wadel's wife, Betty works full-time as the company's secretary/treasurer. His son, Mark, 22, will graduate this spring with a business degree from Christian Heritage College in San Diego. When he started college, he wasn't interested in joining the family business, Mr. Wadel said. But after a year of school, Mark changed his mind.

Mr. Wadel said he had hoped that would happen.

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