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Sauder grabs some hip-hop cred

Furniture maker’s customizable closet line featured on DIY show

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The WoodTrac by Sauder product line of customizable closets is featured on the DIY Network’s show ‘Rev Run’s Renovation.’


As one of Fulton County’s bedrock employers, Sauder Manufacturing Co.’s roots may be traditionally rural, but recently the ready-to-assemble furniture maker grabbed some hip-hop cred for its street rep.

Home customizable closet systems offered by its WoodTrac by Sauder division were chosen last year to upgrade the New Jersey home of hip-hop legend Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons, one of the founding members of Run-D.M.C., a pioneering group of the hip-hop music genre.

The closet systems were featured in four segments that aired in January and February on Rev Run Renovation, a home remodeling TV series — appearing on cable’s home improvement DIY Network — about Mr. Simmons and his family as they upgrade their house.

DIY is rebroadcasting the episodes this month, and cable network HGTV has also picked up the show and plans to air the episodes this spring.

Jonathan Zublena, director of sales and marketing for WoodTrac, which began in 2011 by offering faux-wood ceiling systems, said the company launched its closet systems a year ago and through a stroke of good timing connected right away with Mr. Simmons and family.

Elizabeth Greenewald, of Kleber & Associates in Atlanta, said her marketing firm was contacted last May by DIY producers “seeking a high-quality closet system for the Rev Run’s Renovation project.” Kleber & Associates handles marketing for WoodTrac.

“We agree to provide the systems for free to get the publicity,” Mr. Zublena said. “Some of the people at WoodTrac were fans of Run-D.M.C., so we brought in our own employees to do the labor for the install. At the same time it was kind of a fun project."


Some of the Sauder employees were fans of Run-D.M.C. and did the installation for the DIY show.


“We took seven of them to New Jersey and spent a couple of days doing the installation. It really was a good chance for us to get some great exposure on a cable network show,” Mr. Zublena said.

When Archbold-based Sauder launched WoodTrac in the fall of 2011 it was just offering snap-in ceiling systems that attached to drop-ceiling frames. WoodTrac was part of an ongoing effort by Sauder to diversify from its ready-to-assemble furniture reputation by offering different products, such as ceilings, church furniture, and metal furniture.

“We had been sending feelers to our dealer network, asking them what else would they like to see from us, and a lot of them asked about what else we did besides [ready-to-assemble],” Mr. Zublena said. “We had done some closet systems in [ready-to-assemble] in the past and we saw this as a good opportunity to produce a higher- quality version than we do at retail.”

WoodTrac closet systems, unlike Sauder furniture, are customizable. They can be purchased and installed by a homeowner, but are mainly geared to builders and home improvement installers and are sold through Sauder’s WoodTrac Web site ( and through dealers. In the Toledo area, WoodTrac is sold by Royalty Mooney & Moses in Northwood.

“We call it semi-custom in that it’s sold in cabinets in standard sizes. But there’s room to customize those cabinets for the customer,” Mr. Zublena said.

Because Sauder makes the closet systems out of wood laminates at its factory in Archbold, it is able to lower the price point dramatically, he added.

“We’re positioning it as a step up from wire shelving, which is what most builders use for a basic closet. But there’s a huge step up from wiring to other systems, but we can come in at that $3,000 level whereas other systems are about $5,000,” Mr. Zublena said.

Contact Jon Chavez at: or 419-724-6128.

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