In 2015, Betsy and Andy Cabrera, owners of Simpson Cabinetry, picked Essex as the place to build their 8,300-square-foot facility.
“When we bought the business, it was on Shelburne Road,” Betsy recalled. “What Andy and I quickly realized after running the business for two years is that we don’t need the drive-by traffic. We are a destination. We aren’t competing with Lowes. People will come to us. Essex was business-friendly, the lots were permitted, ready to build, and reasonably priced.”
Almost double the size of Simpson’s previous location, the facility on Corporate Drive has an inviting walk-in showroom filled with one-of-a-kind designs, including kitchen cabinets, built-in mudroom cabinets and wooden countertops.
In the back of the building is a large woodshop laid out with dedicated woodworking stations, a painting room and a sanding chamber.
The company designs and builds residential projects for builders and homeowners who primarily reside in Vermont. Since the projects are custom-made, it’s crucial to stay on top of the details, Betsy said.
“The important thing is communication,” she said. “We do a good job, sometimes better than others, to communicate clearly on what the schedule is, what the needs are — the basic things — so there is no assuming.”
Simpson Cabinetry employees 11 people whose roles range from designers to carpenters. The company takes pride in sourcing the wood from sawmills and lumberyards in Vermont and other parts of New England. It recycles the unfinished paint and finish and turns it into nonflammable, clean lacquer thinner which is reused in its paint booth.
In their late 40s with two kids at home, the Cabreras’ primary objective in purchasing Simpson Cabinetry was to secure their family’s future. Both were previously self-employed, but Betsy phased out her event-planning business and Andy downsized his construction company to building only a handful of projects each year, which allowed the couple to dedicate energy to the new endeavor.
“It was smart to get into a business that when Andy got sick of hammering nails all the time, he wouldn’t have to. We could have another income stream,” Betsy, a Richmond resident, said. “And Simpson is its own business that could be sold or passed down.”
The couple purchased the business in 2011 from the original owner, Bruce Simpson. When Simpson was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer that year, he started to look for a qualified buyer to continue his legacy. He turned to Betsy and Andy, with whom he had already established a working relationship.
After the couple purchased the business, they secured employment for all the existing employees, something Simpson was able to witness before he passed away in 2012.
Today, Betsy said, Simpson Cabinetry maintains the same degree of integrity that Bruce Simpson worked so hard to create. The company has been featured in magazines, including Better Homes & Gardens and Fine Home Building and last year received the Best of Service Award from Houzz, an online platform for home remodeling and design.