Subcontractor of the Year Award
Jim Eathorne – E.W. Kitchens
Quentin Eathorne and his wife, Skip, founded E.W. Tile in 1947 after Quentin returned home from serving as a bomber pilot in World War II. For over 40 years, E.W. Tile, then located in Detroit, specialized in laminate Formica. In 1984, the company relocated to Wixom and the couple’s son, Jim Eathorne, was named president of the company three years later. With strategic planning, new business development and finance skills developed in a previous bank manager position, Jim had the skills not only to grow the business but also to develop solid working relationships with manufacturers, customers and employees.
Quality has always been a hallmark of E.W. products throughout the evolution of the company. Calling on cabinet manufacturers over the years, Jim was able to gain knowledge in all facets of cabinet construction, enabling the company to transition to sales of custom and semi-custom cabinetry by 1993 and realign the company name – E.W. Kitchens – to better reflect its business. “We have been with three major cabinet suppliers for 30 years,” said Jim.
“We know these companies provide quality products. Our strong relationship with these companies is an asset to both our company and our customers.” In 2005, E.W. Kitchens opened a high-end luxury showroom in the Troy based Michigan Design Center offering kitchen and bath design services in addition to cabinetry, project coordination and installation services.
Jim is particularly proud of his staff, referring to them collectively as “The Dream Team”. “I am so proud of the people that work for us, from our drivers who deliver the right cabinets in the right location of the home, to the designers who make customers dreams come to life. We empower our employees and I believe that is why we continually exceed our customers’ expectations. Our job doesn’t end when the cabinets are installed. We take care of our builders and their homeowners even after the job is complete.”
Married for 40 years, Jim and his wife, Karen, are the parents of two adult children. Son Bret works in healthcare consulting and their daughter, Lauren, is a mother of three boys and works in Human Resources and Marketing with E.W. Kitchens. “I am extremely flattered that E.W. Kitchens has received this recognition,” said Jim. “It is validation that we’re doing things right and that our builder and remodeler customers appreciate our professionalism.”