Owensboro’s cabinetmaker of 45 years closes retail doors, embarks on new adventure

September 10, 2020 | 11:00 am

Updated September 10, 2020 | 11:13 am

Graphic by Owensboro Times

After 45 years as a family business full of innovation, Phill’s Custom Cabinets is closing the doors to their retail store and shifting the focus to their web-driven portion of the business, Cabinotch. 

With thousands of customers across North America, Phillip Crabtree — who purchased the business from his father in 2010 — had to make a decision to best guide his family and employees to future successes.

“From the bottom of my heart and my family’s hearts, we want to thank the thousands of amazing customers who have believed in us enough to trust us with their dream kitchens,” Crabtree said. “Our company’s mission statement for the past 45 years has been, ‘work hard with your hands and lead a quiet life.’ God has blessed our company and employees immensely for our commitment to this mission statement.”


In January, Columbia Forest Products sold its Cabinotch Division to Cabaxis Inc, an affiliate of Crabtree — the originator and creator of the award-winning cabinet box system. Crabtree sold the patent to CFP in 2011. 

The Cabinotch cabinet box system, which involves a patented interlocking joint, helps shops reduce costs and improve productivity, says the company. Cabinotch provides a custom-sized “cabinet chassis” – including the face frame, sides, backs, bottoms, tops and shelves – that cabinet shops can finish and assemble themselves. Box parts are customizable to within 1000th of an inch.

Phill’s Custom Cabinets was started in 1975 by Phill and Paula Crabtree. Phill was born a sharecropper’s son in Curdsville and was one of 10 children. Paula was born in St. Joe and was one of six children. 

Phill’s love of woodworking was always with him from a young age. In 1973, Phill and Paula bought a rental house that needed kitchen cabinets, and Crabtree thought, “I can do that!” 

That “take the hill” attitude was the reason for the birth of Phill’s Custom Cabinets and its 45 years of success in Owensboro. 

The cabinet shop created opportunities for not only the Crabtrees but for hundreds of local craftsmen and women to hone their skills in the woodworking business. 

The company has been flourishing since its inception and has received multiple patents and two international awards for innovation and advancements in the woodworking arena. The company started to look differently at its processes and investigated other automated equipment available to improve their business. 

The couple’s youngest child, Phillip II, joined the operation in 2000. Just like his father, his passion for woodworking, along with his exceptional employees, allowed for a fertile place for success. 

This success came in the form of an online business — Cabinotch — that allows other cabinet shop owners, handymen or women, to benefit from the technology birthed in Owensboro.

In the past 45 years, if you have purchased Phill’s Custom Cabinets, they company said they would love to hear a good word about your experience with the family and their custom products. You can post a story, memory or comment on their blog at

September 10, 2020 | 11:00 am

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