When Gilbert Fehrenbacher opened a small cabinet business in his garage in 1957, it's doubtful he envisioned what his tiny shop would one day become.
Now, 52 years later, Fehrenbacher Cabinets Inc. of Evansville, Ind., is owned and operated by his son Bob, grandsons Peter, Patrick and Zach, and longtime employee Jim Balbach. Dennis Fehrenbacher, another of Gilbert's sons, retired from the business several years ago. The 45,000-sq.-ft. shop manufactures custom cabinets, countertops and furniture, and sells appliances.
The third-generation business thrives on its reputation of producing quality custom work while providing exceptional service from a project's beginning through its installation.
But the family affair doesn't stop with Fehrenbacher Cabinets. Next door is Wood Specialties by Fehrenbacher, a family owned and operated millwork shop founded in 1986 by yet another son of Gilbert, Gary Fehrenbacher. Gary's sons Chris and Keith have joined their dad at the wood products company, which manufactures doors, stair components, casings, moldings, flooring and various custom items. Despite the family connection, the companies are run independently.
Before Peter, Patrick and Zach became involved with Fehrenbacher Cabinets, the business experienced years of success and shop expansion. Their father and uncle purchased a piece of property in 1975 that is the current location of the business.
"Grandpa still did quite a bit of the little stuff at his shop in the 1970s through the spring of 2000 when he passed away at age 86," Peter says. "It seemed like every four or five years they had to expand, adding on rooms and they just kept growing and growing ... whether it was a piece of furniture for downtown, a commercial office, residential bars, exterior [work], countertops, appliances, it really kept them diversified enough starting back in the '70s."