Small Business Leader of the Year – Sun Sentinel’s Excalibur Award: Bill Feinberg of Allied Kitchen & Bath
The grand staircase in the middle of Bill Feinberg’s Fort Lauderdale showroom isn’t there just to take clients to a second floor filled with luxurious bathroom and kitchen displays. It was designed with the community in mind.
The top of the staircase serves as a platform of sorts for members of charitable organizations. They come there to tell invited guests about their various causes, whether it’s cancer awareness, foster care, or building sustainable housing.
Giving back, either through donations or by hosting fundraising events, is a top priority at Allied Kitchen and Bath, a remodeling firm led by Feinberg since 1984. It’s been that way for years.
For his entrepreneurial success and community involvement, Feinberg won the Sun Sentinel Co.’s 2013 Excalibur Award for Small Business Leader of the Year in Broward County. The award was presented Thursday evening at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.
“Giving has become the engine that drives our business,” said Feinberg, president, chief executive, and co-founder of Allied. “It has helped us grow, not just maintain business.
“You have to give to get. Pay it forward.”
Feinberg has hosted more than 100 charity events at Allied since building a 15,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art showroom in 2008.
He’s welcomed thousands of guests into the design center at 616 W. Oakland Park to raise funds for local nonprofits and at the same time raise the profile of his two-story showroom. The center features display of high-end kitchens and bathrooms, elegant doorknobs, faucets, mirrors, cabinets, and other home fixtures.
For the 55-year-old father of two grown children, helping the community is a characteristic he learned early on from his parents.
“My parents didn’t have much money, but they taught us to share with each other,” said Feinberg, who works with his three brothers at Allied. They taught him to treat others with respect, he said.
That fine treatment has carried over at the home remodeling business, said Pamela Moskowitz, the vice president of business development at Allied who has worked there for 16 years.
“There’s respect and trust here,” Moskowitz said. “Like any good relationship, you have to have respect and trust, and there is that among all of us. That’s what makes this place tick.”
It’s the Feinberg family way.
“We grew up as a close family, always told to do the right thing,” said Joe Feinberg, Allied’s co-founder, and Bill’s brother.
In 2008, while competitors were shutting down or downsizing due to the recession that was crippling the housing market, Allied opted to expand. The gamble paid off. Revenue in 2013 reached $8 million, double what it was five years earlier.
The housing collapse and high unemployment rates kept homeowners from selling their houses and impeded others from buying new property, Joe Feinberg said. Instead, they opted for remodeling and turned to Allied for their home improvement needs.
To build the new store, Allied tore down a series of duplexes that served as showrooms and office space. Feinberg believes the new showroom helped Allied stand out in a frail economy, giving customers peace of mind by proving to them they were committed to staying in business.
It was a critically important sentiment at the time.
“They felt comfortable to see a place like ours survive,” Bill Feinberg said.
Growth didn’t come without sacrifices.
“Bill and I took our life savings and put it into the business so we didn’t have to lay off anyone,” Joe Feinberg said. There were no raises and no paid time off. Owners didn’t get a paycheck for a couple of years, he said.
Five employees decided to leave during that time, Joe Feinberg said. Allied began hiring again in recent years, increasing its staff — which includes salespeople, designers installation, and production teams — from 35 during the recession to 45 now.
Ed Cannatelli, Owner and Vice President of Pompano Beach-based Cannatelli Builders Inc., has been buying supplies from Allied for 13 years. Cannatelli also was hired to build Allied’s new showroom.
“He’s nothing but an utmost professional,” Cannatelli said of Bill Feinberg. “He’s ethical, and he’s a man of integrity.”
Cannatelli said Feinberg is one of the most energetic people he’s ever met. He said he is always enthusiastic and passionate about his job — and is always willing to go the extra mile to serve the community.
“I see Billy on a job site during the day and then at night in a tuxedo at a charity event,” Cannatelli said.
Feinberg is someone who “steps up to the plate” when needed by the community, said Anthony Hamawy, President of Dania Beach-based Cruise.com.
Hamawy has worked with Feinberg to raise thousands of dollars for the South Florida Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It’s a cause that matters to Feinberg. His father died from leukemia in 2003.
“Bill does everything from the heart and it shows,” Hamawy said. “That’s what makes him special.”
Name: Bill Feinberg.
Position: President, CEO, Co-Founder of Allied Kitchen and Bath.
Personal: 55. Two children: Kara, 27, and Michael, 24.
Education: Bucks County Community College and “The School of Hard Knocks.”
Career highlights: Testifying before U.S. Congress. Celebrating 30 years in business and working alongside his brothers from Day One. Building a state-of-the-art, 15,000-square-foot design showroom on the same spot where it all began back in 1984.
Community involvement: Helped many local charities and philanthropic organizations to raise funds and awareness. Held over 100 charity events in the past five years in company showroom. Past president of the board for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of South Florida. President-elect and board of directors for Habitat for Humanity Broward County. Trustee and member of the board of directors for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. Board member of the Broward College Advisory Council. Board member of the Fort Lauderdale Chamber Council of Economic Advisors.
Hobbies: Spending time with family, lazy days on the beach in Fort Lauderdale, cooking, and traveling.
About the company
Allied Kitchen and Bath
Founded: 1984 as Allied Home Improvement.
Number of employees: 45, including sales, designers, installation, and production teams in the field. All based in Fort Lauderdale.
What they do: Specializes in kitchen, bathroom, and complete home design and remodeling. The retail showroom of fine decorative hardware, plumbing fixtures, and home accessories was built in 2008.