By Arlene Bachanov

Daily Telegram

ADRIAN, Mich. —
In a tough economy, you might think consumer spending on home improvements would be down, but that’s not the case for Classic Cabinets and Interiors.

“We’re busy, busy, busy,” said Amie Pelham, Classic Cabinets and Interiors’ vice president, designer and business manager.

In fact, what started out as one store in Jackson, founded in 2002 by Pelham’s father, Chuck Barnes, and expanded in 2008 to a location in Tecumseh, has recently expanded to a third showroom at 112 N. Main St. in downtown Adrian.

The Adrian store started operations in July and celebrated its grand opening on Sept. 18.

All three locations are owned by Pelham, Barnes, who’s the president, and Barnes’ son and Pelham’s brother Craig, the vice president for sales and logistics.

Barnes opened the Jackson location, a wholesale operation called Classic Cabinets, to keep up with his love of cabinetry when he retired from Merillat after some 40 years of service. At the same time Pelham, who’s an interior designer, was running her own Tecumseh-based business called Classic Interiors and Cabinetry by Amie.

She’d been doing interior design, “going into all these lovely homes and doing window treatments,” she said, when she decided she wanted to open a retail showroom “and show off all the things Merillat does.”

The result was a merger of Barnes’ and Pelham’s businesses to create Classic Cabinets and Interiors at 118 W. Chicago Blvd.
“It was very successful, and so we revamped the Jackson store to do the same thing,” she said. “Then we decided that Adrian was the next step.”

With the expansion to the new showroom in Adrian, which is managed by designer Lisa Van Sickle, Pelham hopes to draw customers to downtown Adrian by making the store a destination site.

“I’m just really proud of the store and we’re really excited to be in Adrian,” she said.

The showroom concept makes one-stop, personal service possible, Pelham said.

“It’s all about listening to what people need,” she said, and by having different types of kitchens and baths displayed, people can readily see what things would look like in their own homes and what all their options are.

“We really use our showrooms as ways to educate people,” Pelham said.

Each of the stores, including the new Adrian location, is an exclusive KraftMaid/Merillat showroom and sells not only cabinetry but also a full range of countertop materials, hardware, lighting, custom window treatments, blinds, and tile and hardwood flooring. The company can either handle the installation itself or can design the space and sell the items so that customers can use their own installers.

A lot of their business is coming thanks to referrals from satisfied customers, Pelham said. “I’m so fortunate to have had great experiences with people,” she said.

The Adrian store is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and by appointment. The business can be reached at 264-1111. More information is also on the store’s Web site, www.classiccabinetsandinteriors.com.