For almost 20 years, Concept Millwork Design & Development, Inc., based in Orange, has been providing their customers with unique, quality millwork. We sat down with owner Cindy Gubler to celebrate her business's new status as an EmployABILITY Champion and find out what that means to her.
How did you start your business?
My husband Richard started the business in 2005, but Richard doesn’t really enjoy the business side of things. I was the Chief Financial Officer. So, I bought the business and kept Richard as an employee because he knows the millwork part.
What were some challenges after you bought the business? There were quite a few, but the biggest was just that I was a woman in a very male-dominated industry. It can be stressful. It’s a dog-eat-dog business, and misogyny abounds. I’m not easily discouraged, though. I’m a big believer in the power of women! Another challenge we had was during COVID. A lot of our business is with companies in the hospitality industry. When COVID hit, business really took a hit from shutdowns and supply-chain issues. We’re still coming back from that. This grant is going to help us expand our millwork and technology services so we can start working with other, smaller millwork shops who need our expertise in manufacturing and design.
How do you plan to use the EmployABILITY Business Grant funds to grow your business?
We have so many exciting plans for the grant funds! We’re developing a six-month training program for individuals with disabilities. The interns in the program will learn all aspects of millwork and design – from manufacturing and using power tools to computer-aided drafting. This is going to be a state-of-the-art training program, so we’ll be using some of the funds to purchase new equipment to make sure the interns are learning on the most up-to-date equipment. Some of the funds will be used to install workstations and make other changes to make sure our facility is ADA-compliant. We’ll also have consultants from the National Organization on Disability and the Small Business Administration who will give disability awareness and sensitivity training.
What does it mean to you to be an EmployABILITY Champion?
This is such a huge opportunity for us. It’s difficult to even say how grateful we feel to get the grant. This grant gives us the opportunity to help someone discover a career they will love and expand our business. We’ve always wanted to offer a training facility, and now, thanks to this grant, we can.
For more information on Concept Millwork Design & Development, Inc., visit https://conceptmillwork.com/.