After opening their business on the eve of the recession, the Irwins have sought the advice of SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, and the Small Business Development Center, both providing key advice that helped them weather the recession.
SCORE counselor Dick Wadley suggested more marketing of the business, and Ross Irwin used those tips to post pictures of their kitchen designs in their 2,200-square-foot showroom. Irwin, too, said he has benefited from the SBDC’s “profit mastery” course.
Learning has been key, but so too has been an approach to business that helped them escape the recession without going into debt: paying their bills on time.
“If we don’t have the money, we don’t buy the stuff,” he said.
Another asset: business networking. Irwin is an Olympia Master Builders and Thurston Chamber of Commerce board member.
Learning, networking, plus past business experience – Trivonna Irwin has been designing kitchens for 19 years – has kept the business going, and now things are on the upswing, Irwin said.
Cabinets by Trivonna designs kitchens, plus sells cabinets, countertops and hardware. It does not install or manufacture its cabinets, but works with remodelers and buys cabinets from two local manufacturers: one in Auburn and another in Vancouver, Wash.
“We sell the design process,” Irwin said.
The business operates out of a bright showroom, showing the visitor a variety of kitchen cabinets, hardware and countertops on display. They also sell LED lighting for cabinets.
Tami Shaughnessy of Olympia used Cabinets by Trivonna for their custom-built home in west Olympia. The house was built over the summer and then was occupied in December. Trivonna Irwin designed the kitchen, she said.
“Trivonna did a great job,” Shaughnessy said. “It’s very functional, with a ton of storage, which we just love.” They also have the LED lighting for the cabinets, which, once they learned about it, “they had to have,” she said.
Cabinets by Trivonna
• Owners: Ross and Trivonna Irwin.
• Location: 4444 Lacey Boulevard SE, Lacey.
• Years in business: Cabinets by Trivonna was incorporated in 2006; showroom opened in 2007.
• Services: Designs kitchens, plus sells cabinets, countertops and hardware.
• Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays.
• Online: cabinetsbytrivonna.com.
• Employees: The Irwins and one part-time bookkeeper.
n Did you know: Ross Irwin is a former longtime church pastor. He also used to teach Bible studies and some math classes at Northwest Christian High School. Trivonna Irwin is a longtime kitchen designer, who also has experience hanging wallpaper.Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 email@example.com theolympian.com/bizblog