Dave and Cindy Haglund founded Kitchen Tune-Up in 1988. In 2003, their eldest daughter, Heidi, joined the company and went to work to learn all of the various support roles at the Home Office. After spending many hours with the franchise owners, she landed in marketing and sales for 13 years. In 2017, Heidi became president of Kitchen Tune-Up, allowing her parents to spend more time traveling, with the grandkids, and enjoying their lake home near Aberdeen.
In 1975 Dave & Cindy opened a cabinet store in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Dave had always felt like an entrepreneur and because of his desire to provide a bright future for his family, he decided that business ownership would give him the best possible chance to do that. His cabinet store was very successful and he grew the business, adding employees and building bigger showrooms as needed. In the mid-1980’s during an economic recession, there were very few homes being built and Dave knew it was critical to diversify his business so he could maintain his staffing and space.
He had recently gotten his car tuned up and he thought about how the great the car was running - almost like it was new. He remembered how some of his clients had asked him how to keep their cabinets “looking like new” and he saw a connection. Could he “tune-up” a kitchen so it looked and ran like new?
His high-energy style had him experimenting with a few different products and creating a checklist of items that you could do to make a kitchen “look and run like new.” He called it Kitchen Tune-Up. He started advertising this unique service and the phones started ringing. He was able to make it through the recession without laying off his team as everyone jumped to start doing tune-ups in kitchens.
As Dave told the story of his tune-up, he got a very similar response each time, “Wow, I could use that in my kitchen.” He decided the best way to grow the business would be to franchise it. He was also excited about the idea of helping others get into business for themselves, but not alone like he was when he started his cabinet business.
As the customer’s needs changed, so did Kitchen Tune-Up. He added more and more services to update and improve the kitchen. As the franchise owners changed, the model also evolved. It moved from an owner-operator model to one where the owner worked ON the business, not IN it. This allowed each franchise location to have a business they could sell in the future, and also gave them more work/life balance. Dave and Cindy have loved watching the franchise owners grow a business, create new jobs, and give customers wonderful kitchens along with a wonderful experience.
The owners have been so appreciative of the system Dave and Cindy built. On the 20th anniversary of the franchise system, the franchise owners got together and bought Dave & Cindy a 17 day cruise to Norway. They didn’t stop there. On the 25th anniversary, the owners gave emotional testimonials about how Kitchen Tune-Up had changed their lives during a surprise presentation at the awards banquet.
Dave and Cindy credit the success of the business with some luck, great employees, and wonderful franchise owners that truly care about making a difference. As Kitchen Tune-Up celebrated their 30th year in business in 2018, it feels like the story is just beginning.