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Review: Closeout Cabinets (AKA In Stock Kitchens, IPC)

Review: Closeout Cabinets (AKA In Stock Kitchens, IPC)

by Fred Fauth (email Fred) | | September 28, 2010 | 39 Comments »

society hill cabinetTwo months ago when we finished our wood floor installation, I told you that we would be tackling the remodel of our kitchen shortly thereafter. Well, we’ve been very busy bees, working hard on all the planning, layouts, and initial design considerations for our new kitchen. I have much to tell you about the kitchen project and I plan to get you caught up on where we are in articles over the next two weeks.

But first, I wanted to tell you about our experience buying discount cabinets from a Chinese cabinet distributor that operates under several names: In Stock Kitchens (@ instockkitchens.com), Closeout Cabinets (@ closeoutcabinets.com), and Interstock Premium Cabinetry (IPC) (interstockcabinets.com)  From here on out, I’ll refer to the company as IPC.

IPC’s basic claim to fame is that they offer premium, solid wood cabinetry at “half the cost” of traditional custom cabinets. Their business model to achieve this discount is pretty straightforward: they offer only 10 lines of cabinets that cannot be customized, and they do the bulk of their manufacturing and preliminary assembly in China, with optional final assembly in the U.S. (although they encourage you to “do it yourself” and save 20% more, which attracted us to IPC… we like savings!)

The 10 lines of cabinetry IPC offers are all pretty attractive, but each offers pros and cons. For example, one line offers soft close drawers (a feature we wanted), while another line offers a premium all-wood lazy susan corner cabinet (a feature we also wanted). Unfortunately, both of these options weren’t available in one of the 3 color options that we thought would look good with our Brazilian Walnut floors.

Ultimately, we chose IPC’s Society Hill line of cabinets. This line of cabinets is maple wood stained mocha and highlighted with a chocolate glaze. Overall, we’re very happy with the look, construction and quality of the cabinets, but the company’s service was lacking. Read on for our complete review.

Update: We wrote a follow up article with a detailed overview of building these kitchen cabinets that walks through the assembly of one of the 15 inch base cabinets.

In Stock Kitchens / Closeout Cabinets / Interstock Cabinetry Review

in stock kitchen cabinet assembly

The Highs: Solid wood construction; sturdy design; wide variety of cabinet sizes; premium features (like soft close drawers, dovetail drawer boxes, etc.); attractive look; easy assembly; exceptional price.

The Lows: Poor customer service; sometimes everything isn’t “in stock”; limited set of styles and finishes.

The Verdict: If you can deal with the customer service, IPC offers a very compelling package.

Product Review, by Feature

Solid Wood Construction: All IPC cabinets are solid wood construction, meaning that there is no MDF or particle board in the cabinets. The sides, tops, and bottoms of the cabinets are 1/2 inch plywood. The face and doors of the cabinet are solid wood, and the shelves are 3/4 inch plywood.  All base cabinet and full-size cabinets have 1/2 inch plywood backs. Wall cabinets have 1/4 inch plywood backs with 1/2 inch top and bottom mounting plates.  Overall, these features create a very, very solid cabinet.

Dovetail Drawer Boxes: All drawer boxes are made with dovetail joints and are very solid. The drawer boxes ship fully assembled.

Routed Top and Bottom Shelves: The tops and bottoms of all cabinets fit into routed slots on the edges, sides, and front of the cabinet. This is a standard feature in good cabinet construction and we were happy to find it in IPC’s cabinets.  For base cabinets, since there is no top, there are 4 triangular brackets that secure the top.

kitchen cabinet L bracketStrong L-bracket Fasteners: The sides and backs of the cabinets (and most tops and bottoms) are connected via a very innovative snap-first, screw-second, L-bracket connector (pictured right), with half of the bracket pre-installed on matching pieces. The brackets “snap” together and then are screwed into place, making assembly very fast.

Soft-close Drawers: Most cabinet lines from IPC, including the Society Hill line we chose, come with soft-close, undermount drawer slides. The slides are pretty stable and so far we’ve been impressed with them. These aren’t the most solid drawer glides we’ve tested, but we think they will hold up pretty well over time.

Reversible Top Cabinets: The top cabinets are top/bottom symmetrical, which means they can be flipped to allow the door to open on the opposite side if desired.

european style lazy susan hingePre-Mounted Doors & European Hinges: Perhaps the nicest feature for speeding construction are IPC’s pre-mounted doors. For all cabinets, the doors are pre-mounted on the front of the cabinet on European-style hinges, saving a lot of assembly time.

Service Review – Our Experience

Unfortunately, we found IPC’s service to be lacking. We placed our order at their local Owings Mills, MD warehouse. At our original order the salesman told us all cabinets except for one would arrive in two weeks.  The last cabinet would require 4 weeks. Our first delivery was missing 3 cabinets (the 1 expected to be delayed and 2 others).

We had also made a change order 4 days after we placed our original order that we were told would be incorporated into the order without any effect on the shipping date. That change was not reflected in our order, so we received 3 incorrect cabinets and were missing 2 additional cabinets we ordered as part of the change. These cabinets were to be installed in our laundry room adjacent to the kitchen.

After 10 days of attempting to contact the local warehouse without a response, we decided to return the 3 incorrect cabinets ourselves and just cancel the 2 additional cabinets we ordered. We ran out of time to do the laundry room before the start of autumn. The salesman took possession of the cabinets and agreed to the changes but failed to credit our VISA for the returns/cancellations.  At this time we also returned 6 sample doors we ordered originally. We were told we would receive a credit for these doors but this was delayed along with the other credit.

instockkitchens cabinetsTwo weeks later we were able to get in touch with the main customer service manager at IPC and explain that we had not received our 4 cabinets, and still needed a credit for the returned cabinets and sample doors. To IPC’s credit, the customer service manager did get everything settled within about 4 days. Unfortunately, the whole situation delayed our project about three weeks.

The customer service manager explained that IPC was in the process of a significant expansion to their warehouse base and was moving a lot of product around. I appreciated that he said this was no excuse for our customer service experience and made it right quickly. He also noted that this wasn’t their normal way of doing business and that once they got the warehouse situation squared away, these problems would become far less frequent. We hope that’s true!

Price Comparison

We obtained prices for comparable kitchen cabinets from Home Depot and Columbia Kitchens. Home Depot quoted us a price of $9,500, and Columbia Kitchens quoted us $10,500. The total price tag from IPC was $6,200, or about 40% less. Of course, we had to assemble the IPC cabinets ourselves, but the project was actually pretty fun.

Overall Review

Now that we have all of the cabinets and have assembled all but one, we’re pleased with our decision to go with IPC, despite our customer service experience. For 40% savings, they’re tough to beat… the only cheaper alternative might be painting your kitchen cabinets.

If you’re considering IPC but aren’t sure, we suggest ordering a few sample doors to see the quality for yourself… that’s what we did and we were impressed.

Update >> Here’s a picture of the kitchen after we had DuPont Zodiaq countertops installed on them.

Where to Buy

You can purchase IPC cabinets directly from their web site @ instockkitchens.com, or you can call the 800 number listed at the top of that site.

What do you think? If you’ve had an experience with IPC or would like to ask a question about our installation, feel free to use the comments below!

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Conversation on This Article

39 Responses to Review: Closeout Cabinets (AKA In Stock Kitchens, IPC)

  • Todd @ Home Construction & Improvement responds...
    September 28th, 2010 6:31 am

    Fred,

    Glad you are happy with your new cabinets. Buying cabinets is surely a stressful decision and an expensive one!

    From the photos it looks like they are pretty good quality. Not sure that I like the fact that the fronts are connected with plastic L brackets. I prefer a box that is dado’d and glued. Then again, for the price difference it’s probably worth it.

    Can’t wait to see the final layout.

    [Reply]

  • Jennifer M responds...
    September 28th, 2010 9:56 am

    Columbia Kitchens did a good job for us, but if I had to do it again, I’d definitely look into IPC. The cabinets look really nice and that’s a substantial savings you could use elsewhere.

    [Reply]

  • tom responds...
    September 28th, 2010 10:00 am

    Fred,

    Awesome overview! I’ll have to “star” this post in case I want to replace any of my cabinetry in the future!

    Looking at the pictures on their website, all of their cabinet lines look great. I also look forward to seeing the finished project.

    I wonder if you could put a line of glue down each edge before snapping into place to address Todd’s concern.

    [Reply]

  • Fred responds...
    September 28th, 2010 10:23 am

    Todd, I guess I wasn’t too clear in the post. The fronts are indeed Dadoed and we glued every dado joint, which includes the front assembly on to the cabinet and the tops and the bottoms, which fit into routed slots on the sides, front, and back. We used construction adhesive all around. The L-brackets are in addition to this, the snap feature is nice because it helps you line everything up.

    I think you’ll find after seeing them that they are indeed a very sturdy design.

    I’m planning on a “how we assembled the cabinets” post for Thursday complete with pictures, which should clarify the cabinet quality for everyone interested.

    Tom, they recommended a line of glue on each edge, and that’s exactly what we did on all the cabinets. I think this contributed to the rigidity of the cabinets.

    [Reply]

  • Josh responds...
    September 30th, 2010 9:34 am

    Great post, Fred– really helpful. By the way, in your research did you happen to come across any makers of RTA cabinets that offered the option of flush doors?

    [Reply]

  • Fred responds...
    September 30th, 2010 4:42 pm

    Hi Josh, Actually, we didn’t do much research into the various options for RTA before choosing these guys, so I didn’t see flush-mount doors. One of the pluses for us is that IPC’s showroom/warehouse is only 20 minutes away from our house. We would have been very skeptical ordering from the web site without actually seeing the cabinets in person.

    [Reply]

  • Josh responds...
    September 30th, 2010 4:59 pm

    Thanks, Fred. The search continues…

    [Reply]

  • Paul responds...
    October 21st, 2010 8:59 pm

    Great article, thanks for all of the information Fred. Did IPC provide a warranty on the cabinets you purchased?

    [Reply]

  • Fred responds...
    October 22nd, 2010 10:08 am

    Paul, great question. I did not do any research into a warranty or guarantee, so I am not sure if one exists… It’s a great question, since there are some components that could theoretically break (hinges and whatnot)… We haven’t experienced any breakages yet, so hopefully not asking that question won’t come back and bite me :-)

    [Reply]

  • Ashish responds...
    December 14th, 2010 12:19 pm

    Fred,

    Thanks for great review. We are looking to buy same cabinets from IPC. Is is possible you can post pictures of your finished kitchen. We will really appreciate it.

    Ashish

    [Reply]

  • Fred responds...
    December 14th, 2010 6:46 pm

    Ashish, we absolutely will post pictures when we get everything done. We’re still waiting on getting the countertop installed. Once that’s finished we’ll link some before and after pictures to this article.

    [Reply]

  • […] that, and we were restricted to single oven units. This was a trade we knew we made by selecting Closeout Cabinet’s line of Society Hill cabinets. (Despite the drawback, we still felt the trade was worth it for the […]

  • David responds...
    January 10th, 2011 3:06 am

    Just wanted to respond to Fred’s incident with the customer service(or in his case,the lack therof). I am in no way whatsoever affiliated with the company and or it’s employees in a business manner. I do however know the owner and one of his customer service managers. I happen to plan on purchasing my kitchen from them hopefully real soon. I was told a few months ago that they had just recently opened the showroom/warehouse in NJ and Maryland expanding on their existing location in Pa. I guess all that activity in one period can contribute to some issues….Good Luck in any case.

    [Reply]

  • Alisha Bradley responds...
    January 24th, 2011 6:00 pm

    We purchased an entire kitchen from IPC (through closeoutcabinets.com) but went in person to their warehouse. I am so sad you had such customer service issues in comparison to ours. We went to them and gave plans that Home Depot had come up with and asked for a comparison quote. Home Depot’s finished price was 10,500 but immediately IPC personnel discovered the layout would not fit and there was 15″ in fillers! They did their own design which we loved and has 0″ in fillers and fits like a dream. They originally came in at 6800 but they came down to 5836.00 (and gave us them pre-assembled!). We also went with the Society Hill Mocha Cabinets and are very satisfied with the quality and look. We have gotten many compliments and for the price it is doubtful we could get anything else close to this! I highly highly recommend the Lakewood, NJ location!

    [Reply]

  • Fred responds...
    January 24th, 2011 9:35 pm

    Alisha, I’m very glad you added your experience to ours. Obviously, every customer’s is different and its good to hear such a positive addition to this post. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  • Luis responds...
    April 5th, 2011 3:28 pm

    I have read your review on the IPC and i just have 1 question did you get your qoute on line or did you go to the show office, my reason for saying that is that I’m getting cabnites this month I got a cheaper qoute on line then I did when I went to their show room over $500 and it’s the same place just differnt sales people, i still have to pick the cabinets at the same place

    [Reply]

    john Reply:

    Hi, I also have an experiance with closeout cabinets.com aka interstock cabinets.com and instock cabinets.com. I am a contractor in N.J, building a new home for myself. I went to closeout cabinets showroom in Pa. where they told me I would receive a contractors discount. After my layout was finished I came home to compare prices with other places online only to find out that I could buy the same cabinets from interstock.com for a cheaper price that they give to any home owner, which kind of put a bad taste in my mouth for this company.When I asked about the pricing I was given, I was told that closeout would match the pricing, but I still get the same price as anyone else does. No contractors priceing like they advertise, or told me. The sales people in the showroom receive commision for there sales, and online I guess they dont, so you will receive better prices if you order online and pickup yourself. All the cabinets are the same. Maybe you can save some money in Lakewood if they offer 3 1/2 percent sales tax. Anything to save a dollar in todays economy. Still dont understand why such a business like closeout does business like this.

    [Reply]

    john Reply:

    I received my quote my solid wood cabinets, then i went online ti in stock cabinets and got a better deal there. interstock shipping was about 200 dollars where in stock is free, but there still was a price difference of about 500 hundred dollars. I wasnt happy with that because I was suppose to receive a contractors discount like I was told by the sales person. I think the difference is if you go to the showroom your going to pay more because the sales people work on commision, and on line no one has to do your layout for you, so in all reality, you are paying for the layout in the showroom, that how they get paid. I had a couple of orders around 20,000 dollars, but I am looking else where right now. there are lots of places out there to do business with. Let me know how you make out.

    [Reply]

  • Fred responds...
    April 10th, 2011 1:24 pm

    Luis, we did both ways – in store ended up being cheaper because the store paid for the shipping. Suggest you take your online quote in store and figure out why the disparity.

    Fred

    [Reply]

  • Joan responds...
    May 28th, 2011 11:27 pm

    Can they support the weight of granite countertops with 18 inch backsplash?

    [Reply]

  • Fred responds...
    May 30th, 2011 8:52 pm

    Joan, yes – that would be no problem at all. We have DuPont Zodiaq installed on ours.

    [Reply]

  • PK1981 responds...
    July 12th, 2011 6:07 pm

    I have been using IPC cabinets in my apartment complex for 15 years now. The service is not the greatest but you just cannot beat the quality and the price combo. Highly recommended!

    [Reply]

    Fred Reply:

    PK1981 – Thanks for adding your experience. It clearly mirrors ours.

    [Reply]

  • Ed responds...
    July 19th, 2011 12:23 am

    Thanks so much for your blog. I am seriously considering IPC cabinets. After visiting Owings Mills salesroom am sold on quality of the cabinet door&drawer facings. I am still uncertain of the quality & durability of the rest. Would you please provide a followup note on durability of construction of the sides/back cabinet integration to the fronts after your ?half-year? of misc. stresses. Of even more concern to me was an impression that the soft-close mechanisms for drawer and doors appeared flimsy for the drawers and rather ‘sore-thumb’, obtrusive large and distractive add-ons to the doors. Appreciate your reply, as I’m in decision mode this week. Best- Ed

    [Reply]

    Fred Reply:

    Ed,

    We’re still pleased with the purchase and the cabinets are holding up well after 6 months of use – no complaints here – and we have twin 6 year old boys. The one thing I will say is that I think we installed the floor-to-ceiling pantry a bit off-square, and so the doors aren’t shutting type (about 1/4 inch gap in one). It’s not noticeable by anyone but me, but of course I notice it.

    On the backs: the floor cabinets are 1/2-inch Plywoood with an additional 1/2-inch mounting plates.

    On the sides: 1/2-inch plywood finished on both sides – no issues whatsoever.

    On the rails: No issues, although I was at our aunt and uncle’s house this weekend and they have “premium” cabinetry – seriously like a $30,000 set of cabinets. The drawer slides were noticeably nicer than IPC, but I would expect them to be – you get what you pay for here. We haven’t had any issue with the slides and we keep the drawers full.

    I hope this helps. Note, though, that different lines from IPC have different qualities — very significantly different qualities. I can only vouch for the society hill line.

    [Reply]

  • SEKG responds...
    August 19th, 2011 11:21 am

    Thank you so very much for your post. Your advice is incredibily helpful and I plan to visit the Closeoutcabinets warehouse warehouse this weekend. Looking for kitchen cabinets is more than a notion. I hope this visit will relieve the stress.

    Thanks again for your review and expert advice.
    SEKG

    [Reply]

  • David responds...
    January 19th, 2012 10:28 am

    This is a little late, as the last post was in Aug of last year.

    We just installed cabinets from IPC. Much of what has been said above still holds true. We got Ivory cabinets for around the walls, and Hampton cabinets for the island. The Ivory are IPC cabinets, and the Hampton are JSI. There is a world of difference between the Hampton and Ivory as far as quality. The Hampton doesn’t have dovetail drawers or soft close slide. The price was lower, but I think I would have prefered the better cabinets, they just didn’t have a color I liked.

    Customer services is still the same. The salesman is great and tries to get info for us, but the billing office just won’t respond. We made a change order a couple days after the original order in November. Cabinets were delivered mid December, and we still haven’t gotten a refund for the change order. I’ll be going over to the office in Owings Mills tomorrow and sit on the salesmans desk until I get an answer!

    [Reply]

    Doug Reply:

    David,
    You mentioned IPC and JSI; aren’t they the same supplier? How does the quality of the boxes and the doors compare? We are interested in the Lexington (Espresso) line and realize the drawers aren’t dovetailed and no soft close option. We can live without those because we love the look of the Lexington. However, we CAN’T live with poor box quality. So, can you confirm the quality of the box? Thanks so much.

    [Reply]

  • Tabitha responds...
    March 3rd, 2012 11:37 am

    We’re in the design process with CloseoutCabinets (operating out of Canada now) and wondering why we can’t find many reviews on this company under any of the many assumed names/websites except your review (which is great!). Question: how are your cabinets holding up now after a few years since the install?

    [Reply]

    Fred Reply:

    Tabitha (and others who wonder about this),
    We are still happy with the IPC cabinets. After about two years, we have to tighten the hinges on the doors once in a while, but otherwise, we’ve been happy. I’ve been looking for a solution to the hinges not coming loose. I’m thinking it may lie in some type of glue…
    I will say you need to be careful which line from IPC you buy – they all have very different features beyond just cosmetics. Society Hill is their nicest. I wouldn’t buy any line that doesn’t have dovetail drawer construction, undermount and soft close rails.

    [Reply]

  • HANDYMAN51 responds...
    April 18th, 2012 9:50 pm

    That kitchen looks GREAT, but, I prefer to have my wife paint the old cabinets, then take her somewhere nice to thank her. Maybe DQ.

    [Reply]

  • donnie huff responds...
    October 18th, 2012 9:41 am

    fred do you the phone number for the warehouse they have in maryland so i can go look at the cabinets im in southern maryland thanks

    [Reply]

  • Annette Greene responds...
    November 13th, 2012 11:00 am

    Buyer beware, I spent $7.000 on cabinets and the service has been a nightmare . I was told the cabinets that I ordered were in stock and as the company is called in stock kitchens. I assumed it to be true. The cabinets arrived with 2 on back order, which I was never informed of, one cabinet had only one door and no hardware. The out of stock cabinets arrived 2 weeks later and 2 doors were smashed to smitherreens. As for customer service which I called many times one person I spoke to did not know what an island was . I guess good help is hard to find. I was promised stain and colour sticks which we never received. It is now 6 weeks later and I still have not received the hinges. It has cost a lot of money having my contractor trying to work around all of this mess . A word to the wise when I was looking for the cabinets the service was very good but as soon as I gave them my credit card information, it’s as though I didn’t exist. My cabinets came fromPA.

    [Reply]

  • patrick responds...
    January 5th, 2013 4:03 pm

    i spent about $5,700 on cherry cabinets from solidwoodcabinets.com’s show room then later found instockkitchens.com much cheaper for the same item numbers as my order. are these the exact same? i need to still buy crown and need it to be exact match.

    [Reply]

  • Danielle responds...
    February 2nd, 2013 3:00 pm

    I found this blog and thought I’d let you all know about my experience. I ordered twice from instockkitchencabinets.com. Overall I have been a very happy customer. I love the cabinets and love the prices. I shopped around to all different cabinet places and love the Cherry hill look, but couldn’t find it anywhere else with the same price tag. So I ordered over $7000 of cabinets and put all the cabinets together without my husbands help. They were super simple and took only a few days. I took the extra time to use wood glue for added support. I am extremely happy with the way the kitchen looks.
    My only complaints were my designer that I had was hard to get in contact with. I did everything through the phone and email and there were times he wouldn not call me back for days. It was very annoying. The other thing if things are back ordered you don’t know they are untill your order arrives and they can’t give you a date when they will be in. Fortunately the things on back order didn’t affect the design. I did have 2 doors that were dented. I took picutres and emailed them and they sent out new ones the next week.

    I did order the garbage pail pull out and other things that turned out to be items from rev a shelf. Save yourself some $ and order them from lowes. They are cheaper and you could return them if they are wrong.

    In a nut shell I was very happy with the product and company. My kitchen looks beautiful and I saved lots of money!!! Any questions feel free to email me.

    [Reply]

  • Bruce responds...
    May 13th, 2013 12:09 pm

    InstockKitchens: The cabinets are what they are for the price. Any knocked down style will fabricate with hardware, never dadoes and glued. And be sure the ones you order that are assembled are the same style of cabinetry. Over all you get what you pay for but the one thing in this whole equation is customer service. As stated in the article they will forget some cabinetry, they will send wrong cabinetry and you will not be able to contact them.
    For me, before I knew, after I received the order and I was trying to contact them I called and politely left a message for a return call. After doing this 20+ times I also went on line and voiced my concerns. Only after understanding that the best chance to get ahold of anybody in this company by phone was to call continually for the time they stated operations until someone finally picked up. Also I’ll worn you the (800) number on there site they never answer, there are other numbers so be sure to get those numbers from whom ever you speak with, up front.
    Unfortunately this would be a decent company if the powers to be would rap their heads around the fact that customer service is paramount if they want to survive.
    Namaste

    [Reply]

  • Buy Cabinets Online rta cabinets online responds...
    May 16th, 2013 9:51 am

    Wow, this piece of writing is fastidious, my sister is analyzing such things,
    so I am going to tell her.

    [Reply]

  • jason responds...
    June 12th, 2013 12:29 pm

    I am working on an order with them right now. I was very hesitant to pursue this company because of the negative reviews but their pricing in comparison with other companies could not be ignored. I am happy to say that the customer service I have received so far has been excellent. I haven’t ordered my cabinets yet, but my salesperson has been prompt in email and phone responses. I am currently awaiting my door samples so that we can pick the finish that will work best in our home. If you are interested in ordering from this company I would highly recommend ordering through Phil at 267-991-7708 or email at phil@instockkitchens.com. i’ll post another review once my full kitchen order comes in.

    [Reply]

  • Nick responds...
    November 8th, 2013 6:39 am

    Enjoyed the article, Fred. Very helpful, as was the feedback. The pros seem to far outweigh the cons, so I’ll probably jump. I’ve got my InStockKitchens kitchen cabinet LIST made out on line. The shipping stings a bit at $448 (did someone say there’s a way to get free shipping? I’m in Mass.) Now I just need to get up the courage to order these things ON LINE. Makes me nervous, but you’re right… the price is certainly compelling. Wow! My tab is $3,640 for their cheapest RTA ready-to-assemble cabinets, which is, apparently, the honey Maple Collection. But there are no dovetails or under-drawer glides/self-closers at this rock bottom price. So now I’m taking a closer look at the Society Hill line (kind’a dark though) that you’re so impressed with for an additional 30%. They don’t offer oak… what, no oak trees in China? A light oak seems like a glaring omission to me, but then, is oak no longer trendy? What to do…. All comments welcome.

    [Reply]





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