Business Report – Denham Springs Company Takes Millwork in New Directions
Business Report’s Annual Report – 2016 Profiles of Success
GATOR MILLWORKS makes cabinets.
If that brings to mind a guy in a flannel shirt with a table saw, guess again. This innovative casework and millwork company is cutting edge—in every sense of the word.
Gator Millworks began as a traditional “cabinet shop,” but, under second-generation leadership, now does some of the state’s largest and most sophisticated millwork projects for both commercial and residential clients.
Currently, for instance, Gator is installing millwork in the new Patrick F. Taylor Hall on LSU’s campus that highlights 20,000 square feet of hickory wall paneling. Because the plans call for a unique wood color, Gator CEO and president Chad Foster and several Gator staff members—plus the project’s architect and contractor—recently flew to a sawmill in Indiana to hand-select each bundle of hickory veneer.
That was a long journey from Gator’s humble beginnings.
“My father, Randy Foster, and his partner, homebuilder Gary Henson, founded this company 22 years ago,” says Chad. “They started off as a 3,200-square-foot cabinet shop in Central. Two years later, they built our current facility located (for now) on Highway 16 in Denham Springs.”
Millwork and cabinetmaking runs in the bloodline, with family ties to several other cabinet shops in town. Like his dad, Chad Foster grew up working summers and after school at the family shop. Chad spent much of his spare time at Gator learning the woodworking business alongside his father—sanding cabinets, sweeping floors, going to job sites and learning the ropes. This experience proved invaluable just three years after Chad graduated high school when his father fell seriously ill. During his junior year in college, Chad made the decision to step away from his college degree of business finance and step into his father’s shoes. Although Randy had reservations about his son’s decision to quit college, this step proved to define the company’s future.
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