Copper River Cabinet Company started from very humble beginnings in January of 1968 on the north side of Fort Wayne, IN. as The Panel Mart Inc.
William Thomas (armed with a $500.00 loan from his wife, Marilyn) opened a cash and carry home improvement store selling paneling, molding, and ceiling tile out of an old Quonset hut (A really long tubular shaped building). Little did Bill know paneling would become an extremely popular item, the sales of paneling exploded! Bill soon took on two partners, Dave Hughes and Merrill Stech; soon they expanded into several new locations, Huntington, IN, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, MI. At one time they were the largest paneling dealers in the nation; some even dared to say in all of North America!
Dave and Bill became co-owners of The Panel Mart Inc after Merrill’s unexpected passing. They started looking to the future in the early 1970’s and added cabinetry to their offerings, this proved to be an auspicious move, as cabinetry sales ballooned through the next two decades, soon outperforming the paneling departments sales.
The surge in cabinetry sales led to the 1991 construction of a 4,500-Sq. - ft. cabinetry and counter top showroom just north of the old Quonset hut. That same year the company was sold to two long time employees, Mike Thomas and Bill Pontius. Mike and Bill renamed the cabinetry portion of the company, The Panel Mart Kitchen & Bath showroom to better identify their evolving mission, while still holding on to the Panel Mart’s 23 year solid reputation in the community as a cornerstone for the cabinetry business.
As the new decade of 2000 dawned cabinetry sales accounted for 90 percent of the company’s sales, Mike and Bill rebranded the cabinetry portion and it became Copper River Cabinet Company. The name was chosen as homage of sorts to the co-owner’s fondest childhood memories. Bill savored recollections of his youth in Copper Harbor, Mi while Mike held warm memories of his summers spent in the Rocky Mountains of Red River, NM.
In 2004 Copper River Cabinet Company added our Warsaw, IN location to accommodate and serve this thriving section of our state and its surrounding counties. In 2014 Mike decided to pursue other dreams and sold his portion of the company to Bill. Copper River Cabinet Company is proud to be a locally owned and operated business dating back to our founders first turn of the key that cold, exciting day in January of 1968! Thanks to him, his partners, amazing co-workers and customers past and present for starting, supporting and keeping this American dream alive for fifty years and counting!