One of the fastest growing businesses in Lake Cowichan is among the finalists for the 2016 Construction Achievements and Renovations of Excellence Awards of Vancouver Island, and its owner couldn’t be more pleased.
South Shore Cabinetry, which has been in Lake Cowichan for three years, received 12 nominations for CARE awards in such categories as Best Traditional Kitchen, Best Contemporary Kitchen, Best Contemporary Bathroom, Best Residential Interior, Best Commercial Interior and Best Custom Millwork.
“It feels awesome. It’s very rewarding,” said owner and president Roy Sandsmark. The company has been nominated for CARE awards before but never so many.
“I personally feel very privileged to be in charge of such a highly skilled group of tradesmen. They’re able to do their craft without having mass production as their main focus, so they’re able to work on better projects and therefore I guess they have the opportunity to work on specialized projects.”
South Shore Cabinetry was responsible for designing the Duncan Eye Care Centre, which is one of its gold award nominations. They have also worked on a number of high-end residential properties in Lake Cowichan and Victoria. Sandsmark explained that because the company also has a location in Victoria, the two shops can help each other out in terms of balancing the work load.
“If Victoria gets overwhelmed then Lake Cowichan will build products headed down to Victoria as well,” he said.
Sandsmark’s job is to come up with a design concept that intrigues a homeowner and offers “something different than everyone else has got.” One of his ideas — nominated in the Best Custom Millwork category — provided a unique way for one client to hide the family’s television in the home’s “great room” or living area.
“One of the biggest challenges is that people like to have their TVs in that area but they don’t necessarily want to see them all the time,” he said, noting that one way around this is to have the television mounted on a lift that allows it be lowered into a cabinet out of sight. Instead of going this route, Sandsmark and his team created a piece of millwork that lowers down over a stationary TV screen.
“So [the television] doesn’t have that issue of bending of wires and wearing out of connections,” he said. This project was also featured on the front page of Boulevard Magazine earlier this year.
The staff at South Shore Cabinetry try to do as much of their work in the shop as possible, then take the product to the site to be installed.
Later this year, the company will be building and moving into a larger space next door to its current place on South Shore Road.
The company’s Lake Cowichan location was started by Sandsmark and his wife when they bought a home in the area and retired. He said they wanted to find a way to give something back to the community they were now calling home.
“We needed a challenge and we wanted something to do rather than play golf all day long. So we thought let’s just try this and see if it will work up in Lake Cowichan. And as it’s turned out we’ve had massive success up here,” he said. “The work up in this area has been so well received by the local community and we feel we’re helping to make a difference in revitalizing the business community in Lake Cowichan.”
The Lake Cowichan location employs 13 people and could be looking to hire more in the future.
“I can see this momentum’s building and I can see this year coming up that we’ll be looking to expand again,” said Sandsmark.
The CARE Awards gala is Oct. 1 at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria.