The Summerland Advocate-Messenger - Reliable, Trustworthy Reporting, Capturing The Heartbeat Of Our Community

By Travis Rudloff
Journalist 

One-of-a-kind pieces produced at Clearwater business

 

January 9, 2020

Travis Rudloff

Knock on wood • Allan Drudik prepares to sand a piece of furniture. Drudik owns Clearwater Custom Cabinets, located at 503 Main Street, in Clearwater.

The art of woodworking has experienced an industrial transition that calls for work to be fast, seamless and reproducible. However, when this becomes the primary focus of what should be an art, the personality and story is lost behind each finalized product.

While reproducible, cheap furniture is an industry demand, Clearwater is home to a business that works against the grain and provides a unique, quality product for the area communities.

Clearwater Custom Cabinets, owned by Allan Drudik, can be found at 503 Main Street in Clearwater.

Even though the name may suggest cabinets are the primary product, Drudik's business offers more than suggested.

"Cabinets are the main item produced" Drudik stated, "but I also offer laminate counter tops and have made tables, benches, furniture, end tables and whatever the customer wants."

Currently, the crafting of a hallway bench is receiving attention.

The challenge and opportunity to please the customer are what drive Drudik to complete the requests.

"It is satisfying when they like what I do, and I appreciate their gratitude. If I did not like the job, it would be hard to do."

While the job may be tough, it has been a family tradition.

"My dad and grandpa were both carpenters" Drudik said, "however, I was always drawn to the cabinets. When I had the opportunity to work with Jeff Switzer, I learned a lot."

After working under Switzer for seven years, the bank took over the business.

"At that time, I considered purchasing the business" stated Drudik, "but I didn't think it was possible. I signed a six-month lease with the bank, and made a proposal; before I knew it, I owned my own business."

From those early years, there have been challenges and rewards that have allowed the business to grow and thrive.

"It is hard to judge how long a job will take or how much something will cost. There isn't a catalog that tells me what to charge" Drudik added.

The customer is always the first priority.

"Sometimes I fall short and hurt myself, but that happens at times."

Operating as a one-man shop also has its challenges.

"Even though my business hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., I cannot really have set business hours," Drudik stated. "If I am out installing or giving an estimate, I have to close the shop. That makes business hours difficult."

Even though the physical location may not be open, Drudik can always be accessed by phone.

"Just give me a call," he added. "I should probably hire a boss just to keep me in line" Drudik stated with a smirk.

While there have been challenges along the way, the business has experienced modification over the years.

"I have made small renovations over the years, most of which are for the products I craft."

The building has experienced a roof remodel and the addition of air conditioning.

"I am, also, in the process of installing a dust collection system," Drudik chuckled, as he wiped remnants of dust off a table.

Being in the woodworking business for a number of years, Drudik has seen changes in the industry.

"Several years ago, the cabinets were more classic and fancier," stated Drudik, "however, the trend now is to create a simple, rustic look with clean lines."

Drudik prefers this look opposed to the classic style.

"I like the rustic look. It highlights the wood and craftsmanship. You can't hide behind sleek lines and a flat appearance; you need to do a quality job."

While it has been an experience over the years, the community has supported Drudik, which is something he appreciates.

"I like being in this community, and I knew going in that I wasn't going to be able to serve everyone. The people have been great. I feel the community support."

 

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