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Interview with Mark Seigle, Celebrating 130 Years in Business

In 1881, the first Seigle’s Center (Elgin Lumber Company) opened its doors. A group of Elgin businessmen, led by the Borden dairy family, had come together to establish the business as they saw the need for a well-supplied lumber yard in the growing community of Elgin. Since then, the business has evolved into a high-end cabinet supplier and is now the largest distributor of kitchen and bath products in the Chicago area. We sat down with our president, Mark Seigle, to get his take on the 130 year anniversary, the past, the present, and where he plans to go.

When and why did Seigle’s transform from “Elgin Lumber Company” to “Seigle’s”?
The year was 1983 and we were opening stores throughout northeastern Illinois. We felt it was better to go to market with a unified image. Having always been very active in the management of our family-owned business, what better name than “Seigle’s”?

How many generations of Seigle’s have been involved with the company?
The company was founded by Lee Borden of the famed dairy family. Apparently he saw no future in his father’s penchant for churning butter or condensing milk. My father, Harold, purchased the company in 1941, and today my two children and I own the company.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Undoubtedly what I enjoy most is visiting with customers, whether in our showrooms, tradeshows, association events or in their office. I am very proud of the company we keep and love the chance to speak about our capabilities.

You’ve always kept your roots in Elgin—what do you like about the community?
That’s a hard question to answer as my grandfather came to Elgin in the late 1800s and our family has been here ever since, so I don’t have a comparison. I do know Elgin to be a great community offering diversity, quality educational opportunities, cultural amenities, and a strong workforce.

Why have you kept your focus on cabinets?
Kitchens are the heart of the home, and of all the various products we’ve handled over the years, cabinetry is the most exciting in light of its strong design and fashion elements.

How are you celebrating the 130 Year milestone?
Customers rightfully so are more concerned with what you are going to do for them tomorrow than what you did for them yesterday. Our focus is on meeting their needs going forward more so than planning any form of celebration.

What’s important to you about the Seigle’s philosophy: “Deliver Value. Keep Promises. Be the Best.”?
It’s not rocket science but, by focusing on our mission, we stand out from our competitors by offering competitive prices on quality products and making certain we not only get the right product to the right place at the right time but that all calls, e-mails, quotes, appointments are treated with the same degree of urgency. Our goal is simply to be the best provider of cabinetry in the greater Chicago marketplace. If we can’t be the best, we won’t do it.

What do you see as next steps for Seigle’s Cabinet Center?
We will soon be celebrating the opening of our newest showroom in our former Mundelein location. This will provide market coverage to the north in addition to our current facilities in Elgin, Yorkville, and Chicago. The only remaining void is the south suburban market, so you can expect to see a Seigle’s showroom there in the near future.

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