Al Lizotte went from being a union apprentice carpenter to ultimately building a kitchen and bath company that’s lasted 25 years.
The Westborough Design Center recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Lizotte recalls that he was a union apprentice carpenter before starting his business, in his family’s barn at 3 Ruggles St., which he renovated as the business grew.
“With the economy, there was very little work. So, I left the union, and then started out on my own as a handyman,” Lizotte says.
“There was a time where I did everything – the design, the selling, the actual construction. Slowly, we hired other people, other designers,” he adds.
Lizotte’s family has become more involved in the business over the years.
His wife Judy works in the office, he says. Son Andy is the contractor manager. And daughter Claudette Andrew is the interior designer.
“When they came in, it was truly a family business.” Lizotte says of his children.
“I never really had any vision of it being where it is today. It grew itself. It grew itself because it’s always had great clients, and a good client base to work off. It just evolved when these kids came in. That allowed it to get even bigger, and expand even more. Probably about 15 years ago is when it really started to develop into the scale that it is now.”
“I’ve got a great family, and everybody respects each other, and they work well together.”
“And we love what we’re doing,” Andrew adds.
The kitchen and bath industry has changed considerably over 25 years.
Lizotte says that when he built cabinets, “it was either oak or maple, oak or pine,” and they were “built right on site.”
Now, “the quality of the construction is just superior,” he says.
Andrew adds that “the appliances that are available today, they also allow you to create a very seamless look. You can hide them away. You can put custom wood panels on there and you wouldn’t know it was a dishwasher or a refrigerator until you opened it up.”
Also, “now, people are doing a lot of real simple kitchens: simple door design. The most important thing is to make sure that the layout works for the family,” she says.
“We’re doing these projects from start to finish, so when they are completed, there’s some amazing satisfaction with that. It’s starting with the wish list with the homeowner, and at the end, giving them everything on that wish list, and giving them that dream kitchen that they’ve always wanted.”