At the bustling intersection of Idaho State Highways 44 and 16 in Star, a massive new building has garnered much curiosity from Treasure Valley residents. Resembling an aircraft hangar with its massive arched-bow truss roof, the curtain-of-glass front wall bears the letter G and the word Greyloch. “Everybody was wondering what this was when it was going up and we turned into a meme on Facebook for the city of Star,” laughed Vice President Harrison Fickes. “We had a lot of speculation and had fun with it.”
This object of curiosity in Star is the new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for Greyloch, a manufacturer of custom cabinetry for residential and commercial use. During the building design process, Greyloch knew they needed to design a building with a roof that could free span its 165-foot-wide production hall without columns or other supports. Greyloch founder and owner Shaun Fickes’ dad worked at Mountain Home Air Force Base, so the aircraft hangar-looking design was a perfect way to honor the memory of his late father.
Greyloch’s story began 31 years ago when Shaun Fickes started building tables and other furniture in his parents’ garage and selling it door-to-door. He was asked by a potential customer if he built cabinets and he said he did, even though he didn’t. He examined how cabinets were built and figured it out. “Ever since then, he’s been off to the races,” said Harrison.
Continually reinvesting in Greyloch for three decades, Shaun and his wife Dianne grew the company to where it is today. Greyloch manufactures all of their cabinetry themselves in the Treasure Valley. They also operates two other facilities in Meridian besides the new building in Star – a facility where their designers collaborate with clients to create more custom products and a 5,000 sq ft facility that focuses on assembly and delivery of those orders.
At Greyloch, the manufacturing process is a blend of traditional woodworking techniques and cutting-edge technology. To create the first fully networked and automated facility of its kind in the U.S., they partnered with Homag, the world’s leading manufacturer of woodworking machinery. Their production process is called Batch Size One because it’s a one-piece production line – every part is different. “Everything is produced to order,” said Harrison Fickes. “There’s no inventory on hand – everything is customizable and flexible.”
With Homag, Greyloch has found the perfect technology partner. At the invitation of Homag, both Shaun and Harrison Fickes have made trips all over the world to tour other Homag-equipped manufacturing facilities. They chose Homag because of the level of machines they make, because their networking is fully automated and because their service is top-notch – parts are delivered overnight and service techs arrive the next day. “At our other facility, our operators move parts from one machine to the next,” says Harrison. “There’s very little of that in Star, we put material in one end and cabinets come out the other side.”
Greyloch endeavors to be local in everything that they do. Their customers are local – for now. Their suppliers are also local, even if some of their supplies are not. “At times we have the ability to go direct and save a little, “ says Harrison, “but we made the decision to support our local suppliers.” Being loyal to their suppliers has paid benefits. During the pandemic when other shops couldn’t get materials or hardware, Greyloch was at the top of their suppliers’ list.
Greyloch’s three-decades long journey from a garage workshop to a leading-edge cabinet manufacturer exemplifies the power of passion, dedication, and innovation that many members of Idaho Manufacturing Alliance are known for. With their dedication to precision, quality, and innovation, Greyloch has carved a scalable niche for itself in cabinet manufacturing. With an unwavering commitment to delivering superior products, they have earned the trust and admiration of suppliers, developers, builders and residential homeowners alike.