Husband and Wife In Business Together By Design

Marion Cook has always enjoyed interior design and space planning and her husband, Paul, has enjoyed building things.   Having been married for 21 years, they worked well together on projects. Paul’s work in construction management required frequent travel around the country and took him further into the paperwork associated with government contracting than he wanted to go. He wanted to get back to building things on a smaller scale, reduce the travel and establish a business that could sustain their family, as well as providing a way to fully employ each of their gifts and talents working together.  Kitchen and bath projects are typically more complicated than other types of remodeling.  The Cooks gravitated toward the challenge and found that those projects offered a good balance of complexity, artistic expression, customer interaction and engineering that matched their strengths. 

Paul and Marion first visited the FSBDC at UNF in January 2012. They attended several workshops covering topics such as business planning, taxes, marketing and QuickBooks.  They also met FSBDC consultant Cathy Hagan who helped them develop a business plan, including cash-flow projections. 

The Cabinet Shoppe officially opened its showroom in April 2013.  It is a family-owned business that provides custom designs, quality cabinetry, and expert installation for residential and commercial clients.  They specialize in helping people find what they love – in design, function and finish.  There are a myriad of possible styles on the market today, and the company’s design team is skilled at creating designs that best match clients’ tastes, while achieving the best functionality of a given space.  In addition to design services, The Cabinet Shoppe offers high-quality, American-made cabinetry and accessories from select manufacturers and local builders, ranging from stock to full custom.  To ensure clients’ long term investment is preserved, they partner with select installers who each have many years’ experience in cabinet-making and finish carpentry.  Fantastic cabinets will be all for naught with a poor installation! 

Marion Cook has a degree in interior design and is the lead kitchen and bath designer.  She works with clients in developing well-functioning, beautiful designs that capture the look and feel that the client desires.  Marion is skilled in creating beautiful spaces with traditional, blended or modern themes.  Prior to founding The Cabinet Shoppe, she worked with interior design firms in Ponte Vedra and Jacksonville Beach, as well as independently for 14 years. She is currently a board member of the Jacksonville chapter of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).

Paul Cook manages the purchasing and installation phases of projects and works closely with both clients and subcontractors.  Prior to joining The Cabinet Shoppe, Paul managed large commercial construction projects with Sauer, Inc. for 5 years.  He originally came to Jacksonville with the Navy and served as a Lieutenant.   He has a degree in Construction Management from UNF and a degree in Physics from the Naval Academy.  He is a licensed contractor and a LEED Accredited Professional.  One of Paul’s passions is woodworking, and he builds custom kitchen hoods, islands and cabinetry for select projects. 

Starting The Cabinet Shoppe has presented some challenges for Paul and Marion.  Juggling the responsibilities of running the business while keeping up with the hectic schedule of three children has made life interesting.  They equally share the housework and childcare responsibilities by alternating routines each week – never a dull moment!
Another challenge was learning all the intricacies of starting and running a business, especially in the area of government compliance.   The Cooks attended several workshops offered by the FSBDC at UNF to help them navigate these waters. 
Launching this type of business requires a significant up-front investment that may take years to recoup.  It has been the one of the most difficult tasks the Cooks have ever tackled.   “The challenge has strengthened our faith in God without a doubt!” said Paul.

Despite these challenges, Marion and Paul are passionate about The Cabinet Shoppe and are having fun.  They enjoy working with customers who appreciate the value of high-quality products.  “Treasure worth searching for” is their tag line, helping people find beautiful things for their home.  They get to work with very talented artisans in a variety of specialties.  But the most fun comes from working together, expressing their artistic sides in creative ways that results in a design that exceeds the client’s expectations.

Building The Cabinet Shoppe brand has been a great opportunity for Paul and Marion to combine their creative ideas and business experiences and shape this new entity. As individuals, they have unique backgrounds and think differently about how certain things should be done.   Working through such issues has been rewarding and inspiring, especially as they see the results their labors starting to bear fruit!


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