Since kitchens and bathrooms are often the stars of new home builds or renovations, creating an in-house cabinet company can be a smart strategic move for a homebuilder.
That’s why Naples-based Diamond Custom Homes started its cabinet business, dubbed EDGE, in 2013.
“Integrating a cabinet business inside of our company made a great deal of sense,” says Michael Diamond, founder and president of Diamond Custom Homes and cofounder of EDGE. The company would enjoy economies of scale, and clients could choose to work with one entity for different facets of their home build or renovation.
The add-on strategy has provided Diamond an edge of sorts in a competitive landscape, as it continues to hone it’s strategy to do more for clients.
In 2021, for example, EDGE added interior design services to its offerings. “We still work with some outside designers [on Diamond Custom Home projects], but many clients don’t have their own outside designers, so it was a successful add,” says Diamond, 56.
And In 2022 the company signed a lease for a new 3,400-square-foot standalone showroom at the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt in Naples. EDGE celebrated the grand opening of that showroom in February. The showroom will allow for a dedicated space for cabinet and interior design consultations for both Diamond Custom Homes clients who want to work with EDGE and others interested in using EDGE’s services.
“It’s all seamless in one shop,” says Diamond. “But Diamond Custom Homes doesn’t mandate that clients use it [EDGE]. It’s an option for clients, and we think it’s a value-added proposition, but it’s not a requirement.”
In addition to serving the needs of Diamond Custom Homes clients, a major goal of the new showroom is to attract other area builders and interior designers interested in using EDGE’s cabinet or design services for projects. “That’s really why we expanded more,” says Diamond. “[EDGE] may have started as an in-house operation, but we’re certainly expecting it to not be just an in-house operation any longer.
“We would welcome retail traffic,” he continues. “Interior design clients can come in if they need a general contractor or cabinet services; we can offer that to them. If they have their own builder, that’s fine too. EDGE can perform if someone just wants a cabinet renovation; we can handle that without the involvement of Diamond Custom Homes.”
Diamond recalls introducing the original EDGE concept to clients took some explanation “so they didn’t think we were forcing them to use a firm they weren’t interested in using,” he says. “Some people have previous relationships with interior designers and cabinet companies. We’re building many, many homes with outside designers and cabinet companies, and there’s no issue with that.”
But once clients understood that it was an option but not the only option, things progressed fairly smoothly. And developing a staff of talented cabinet professionals and interior designers has certainly helped clients see EDGE as an option to consider. EDGE started with just three employees and has since grown to a staff of 12. (Diamond declined to share information about annual revenues or sales volume.)
“I think we bring a lot of talent to the table,” says Diamond. “The challenge in any business is always, do you have the market and do you have the employees? Whenever you start a business, there’s always that fear. But we’ve been able to bring on some very excellent talent and we’ve been fortunate to have a lot of people become EDGE clients.”
A second EDGE showroom also opened in February, in Sarasota, just south of downtown off U.S. 41. “That market is very similar to Naples and has a lot of the same demographic price points,” says Diamond. “It’s a great candidate for our next expansion…We’re interested in forging relationships with builders and interior designers in that market.”
Like many others in the building industry, Diamond Custom Homes and EDGE have dealt with supply chain and labor issues over the last couple of years. “It’s been a very challenging time for both companies; supply chain issues have impacted us significantly,” says Diamond, adding he's seen a bit of relaxation of supply chain issues" of late.
The benefits of having two aligned businesses that can work together but also separately have proved helpful in navigating obstacles that come along, like availability of places to build. Homebuilding requires land, either vacant lots or land that results from a teardown, and there’s not a lot of that in desirable areas.
“But what’s nice about EDGE and the interior design piece is that there are always people buying existing homes who are going to remodel,” says Diamond. “So we feel like it’s a wonderful opportunity to offer those services in peak times and less than peak times. People are always coming to Naples and Southwest Florida in general, and if they’re buying an existing home they likely will be candidates for remodeling. And that’s where EDGE can offer its services, even if Diamond Custom Homes is not a part of it.”