This category covers establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing shelving, lockers, and office and store fixtures, plastic-laminated fixture tops, and related fabricated products, chiefly of wood. It also includes prefabricated partitions made of wood if they are designed to be attached to the floor; if they are designed to be freestanding or part of an office furniture panel system, they are classified under SIC 2521: Wood Office Furniture. This category excludes wooden refrigerated cabinets, showcases, or display cases, which are found under SIC 3585: Refrigeration and Heating Equipment.
Wood Kitchen Cabinet and Counter Top Manufacturing
Custom Architectural Woodwork, Millwork, and Fixtures
Showcase, Partition, Shelving, and Locker Manufacturing
In 2005, approximately 1,789 companies in the United States were engaged in the manufacture of showcases, partitions, shelving, and lockers for offices and retail establishments. This industry segment employed more than 59,600 workers. Total shipments by U.S. manufacturers surpassed $9.2 billion that year.
The industry is strictly commercial in nature, and its fortunes are tied to the retail industry. Most fixtures are sold to retail stores, with the remainder marketed to schools, banks, hotels, libraries, and other non-retail businesses.
At one time, the industry manufactured many types of products that are now either obsolete or only rarely made, including butcher shop display cases and telephone booths. Other products have become prohibitively expensive to both manufacture and purchase because of the high cost of materials and labor. Nevertheless, many of the firms that supply wood partitions and fixtures are still thriving due to the increased demand for retail shelving and wooden display units. The industry also has benefited from the development of laminated plastic coatings, which increase the durability of a much-used wood surface.
Most companies in the wood partitions and fixtures industry were originally organized into divisions reflecting their potential customers. In general, they focused on assembling and retaining a staff of highly skilled woodworkers. Research and development, marketing, and customer support typically did not receive a high priority, especially among smaller firms. Even today, only the largest companies can afford in-house staffs to handle those responsibilities.
Manufacturers of wood partitions, shelving, and fixtures usually reach out to their markets by advertising in trade journals such as Restaurant Hospitality, Chain Store Age Executive, and other...