The Dialogue with John Cockfield

This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member. So here we go with our 44th installment visiting with John Cockfield, owner operator of JKC Custom Furniture which designs and builds custom furniture and built-ins for business and residential customers.
 
How did you get started? I did an apprenticeship in high school to a cabinet maker and since then worked for several cabinet/furniture makers such as Ernie Gross Design and Jones Cabinet Shop. Even when I was working as an engineer I sold furniture and wood working on the side to improve my skill set.
 
Who is your mentor? My foreman at Ernie's taught me a lot when I was there and I after I left I continued t keep in touch. He has his own business in Blount county and when I need help with anything he is the guy I call. He is the premier cabinet builder in the area.
 
Describe your customers. My customers are middle class people looking for something special. I also get a lot of customers who want something repaired or restored. About a quarter are small business people looking for custom work because standard furniture does not fit their needs.
 
Name som things you wish you knew when you started. When I started I didn't do everything in writing. Now I do everything in writing. I do a better job now with getting the best deals of materials then when I started.
 
What do you enjoy about your business? Running your own business is a challenge and I like being challenged. Most projects last at most six weeks so I constantly have to be shifting things around to make my customers happy. It's a special feeling when I present my work to a customer and thy say, that's exactly what I wanted.