CIX manufactures restaurant and hotel furniture for the hospitality industry, ranging from lobby and guest room furniture to doors to trimwork and molding.
WILMOT CIX Direct principal owner Matt Babcock has an original painting in his office that depicts a barn raising in vivid color and detail.
He pointed to it recently when some customers from Chicago marveled at CIX’s ability to manufacture and ship in such quantities so quickly.
“I told them that I’ve watched a barn raising and explained that’s the way our business gets things done,” Babcock said. “A lot of skilled people each do their part. In the end, it all comes together because each of those people do their job so well.”
Babcock won’t be relying on a barn raising when CIX moves into its new digs, although its Dec. 1 target date is fast approaching without Stark County officials signing off on several permits required for construction to begin.
“We bought almost 20 acres and 2.5 are in Holmes County, but our business will be operated out of Stark County,” Babcock explained. “The reason we chose to do that in this location is the people in this community, the guys we get to work with.”
CIX manufactures restaurant and hotel furniture for the hospitality industry, ranging from lobby and guest room furniture to doors to trimwork and molding. They service the restaurant industry with tables, chairs, even full bar builds as well as all of the accompanying architectural mill work.
“Business has really blossomed in the last four years,” Babcock said. “(In the process), we’ve helped build a lot of other businesses in this community because of the volume of sales we’ve brought into the community.”
CIX went into business in 2010, in what Babcock described as a “down market”.
“The good part was the people who were buying furniture were looking for shorter lead times and domestically manufactured goods,” he said.
Babcock, who shares the principal owner tag with his wife, Terri, says he was able to deliver on both counts, thanks to his longstanding working relationship with the skilled furniture builders that populate the immediate area.
“We’re not coming in trying to reinvent the wheel as far as manufacturing goes,” Babcock said. “We’re providing a secondary market to the existing woodworkers in the area. Our main focus is the sales end and then all of the project management. After the project is finished, we handle the majority of our own logistics shipping, which is the main focus of our new facility; warehousing, product distribution and shipping.”
The Wooster resident said the biggest attraction of their new location on state Route 62 (Navarre Road) in Sugar Creek Township is the location itself.
“This puts us in the heart of all of our manufacturing capacity,” Babcock said. “And also we’re close to I-77, we’re close to (US) 250 and (US) 30. So for shipping and also for bringing clients in, the location is great, based on where all of our manufacturing and all of our goods are done.”
CIX hosts design firms from New York city to Chicago to San Francisco. They even had a group fly in from Hawaii years ago and recently completed their first international project.
Babcock boasts about the community’s hidden treasure, its furniture makers.
“We have one of the largest furniture producing communities in the country,” Babcock said “I don’t think a lot of people realize how much actual furniture comes out of the Wilmot, Winesburg, Berlin, Apple Creek, Fredricksburg area. There is a tremendous amount of manufacturing.
“So the reason we chose this location to do this is the people. The guys we get to work with and people whose yes is their yes and whose no is their no.”
At the moment, CIX has office space in Wilmot to go with warehouses in Berlin, Orrville and Wooster.
“That’s a lot of running around,” Babcock said. “We wanted to stay close to Wilmot. That piece of property came available and now we’re ready to put up a facility.
“It’s really going to be a showcase, and not just for our company. It will have the CIX Direct name but it is going to showcase what the community has to offer (in terms of furniture manufacturing).”