Lower Burrell business continues to build on 65 years of passion for work
“Pay your bills before you pay yourself.”
Those words spoken by the late Orlando J. “Lanny” Feroce Jr. still resonate today with sons Gary and Ken Feroce, who are continuing to lead the family business J & J Wood Products in Lower Burrell.
J&J Wood Products offers full service kitchen remodeling, including plumbing, electrical, flooring, tile work and painting. They build all their cabinetry, specifically designed for the customer.
All major brands of appliances are available, along with granite, quartz, solid surface and laminate countertops.
They also remodel bathrooms, design and builds custom bookcases, bar units, hutches, desks and display cases.
Estimates are free.
“Our dad didn’t come from much, so he appreciated everything he had,” says Gary Feroce. “He always told us, ‘Once you start not paying people you never catch up.’” He also taught us to treat the customer like a member of the family.”
The sons have lived by those words as the company is celebrating 65 years in business, approaching 66 come January. It’s a profession that they’ve known all their lives, starting with sweeping floors as middle schoolers. They would arrive home, which was located up the street, and change into work clothes.
“This business is in our blood,” Gary Feroce says. “We know every part of the business. We grew up eating sawdust.”
Brothers take over
The brothers purchased the business from their dad in 1984, although he remained involved until his death in 2012. The company was started in a garage over six and a half decades ago by brick layers who did wood work at night and in the off season until it became the primary business. J&J Wood Products was established in 1953 by their uncle Joe Feroce and a friend Jim Kline, hence where the name J&J came from. Their dad worked for the company and purchased it in 1970.
Ken Feroce credits a focus on customer service and the continuity of the same owners and same people working for the business has provided the consistency.
“If you know the owners and something isn’t right you can talk to them and they can fix it,” Ken Feroce says. “I think more and more people like working with local companies and businesses. We have had many customers who knew our dad or uncle and they or their kids come back to us for a new kitchen or bathroom because they know the company’s history.”
The customer comes first
Gary Feroce says a big difference between J&J Wood Products and big box stores is the quality of the product and the fact he or his brother physically goes to each customer location every day until the job is finished. They also aren’t high pressure salesmen.
“We meet everyone and make sure the customer knows what’s happening that day and each day,” says Gary Feroce. “We also have very good employees who are loyal and they believe in the importance of doing the best work and making the customer the top priority.”
Cabinet maker John Sirota of Lower Burrell says he enjoys working for J&J Wood Products.
“I love building things,” Sirota says. “I work most of the time in the shop, but if they need me to work at a job site I will do that. They use quality products. I have a lot of respect for their father and the work he did to build the business.”
Word of mouth is how they advertise, says Ken Feroce. Some people think custom work isn’t affordable but the Feroce brothers buy direct so there is no middle man. They field measure every space and draw multiple sketches by hand, using 100 percent of the space. Their business contains a showroom, lumber room, framing area, building space, spray shop and hardware shop.
“We do all sizes of jobs from the smallest to the biggest,” says Ken Feroce. “We believe the customer will remember us if we do a good job whether it’s on one making cabinet or redoing an entire room, so when they need other work they will come to us.”
“We go above and beyond because we take pride in what we do,” says Gary Feroce. “I remember finishing a kitchen at 9 p.m. one Christmas Eve, because the customer had 40 people coming for Christmas dinner the next day.”
“The key is to keep people happy while you are tearing up their house,” Ken Feroce says. “If we are re-doing a bathroom we re-install the commode every day. They still have to live there so we do our best to make it livable.”
The work J & J Wood Products does is amazing, says Henry Kedzierski of Lower Burrell, who had his kitchen completely redone this past spring.
The brothers think of everything, says Kedzierski such as suggesting he remove the back wall because it faced outside. They found three leaks in the copper plumbing which could have caused major damage if they hadn’t been found.
“Ken was so patient with me,” Kedzierski says. “I was a real stickler with what I wanted, and I was not the person to make quick decisions. Ken said to let him know what I wanted and when I wanted it. It was such a pleasurable experience dealing with J & J Wood Products.”
Kedzierski says he considered three companies but was most impressed with the immediate response he received from J & J Wood Products.
“I told Ken I wanted a ‘Wow’ factor, and he delivered,” Kedzierski says. “He told me he could do that and they did such an excellent job. They were such professionals and very easy to approach about anything. If there was something I didn’t like or wanted to change they were accommodating.”
They definitely were, says Beverly Barilla of Monroeville. She and her husband Jack wanted a new kitchen. They extended the new look into what was the dining room, and wanted to keep a ceiling that was designed and done by her late uncle Edward Silverio.
Some companies might have said no, but not Gary Feroce. He helped create a new ceiling that coordinated with the old one.
“I love how they don’t do multiple jobs at once,” Beverly Barilla says. “I was their priority. I know I was not easy to work with at times.”
She recognized their excellent painters and electricians and plumbers who worked with them to complete the dream kitchen in February.
“I am absolutely satisfied,” she says. “The first time Gary came by I liked him immediately. We talked about eight different plans and he told me if we have to talk about 40 plans, we will do it to get it right for you. I wanted an island and he said there wasn’t a lot of room, but I got my island. He came by every day until it was done. When they were finished I missed seeing them. They were like family.”
Details: 724-335-5351 or https://jandjwood.com
JoAnne Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062 or email@example.com or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib.