For 20 years — from 1966 to 1986 — Charles Yost worked as a manufacturing engineer for General Electric after his tour with the United States Navy. He left when his company planned to move him from its Suffolk plant to Indianapolis. His wife, Barbara, former director of maternal childcare for Riverside Health Systems, didn’t want to return to the North.
So, they stayed and he followed his father’s golden rule — find help all around you.
“When my dad didn’t know how to do something, he would go to whoever did it best,” Yost says of his father who worked in construction at the Newport News Shipyard, alongside welders, fitters, etc. “And that’s what I do.”
“It all started with TV cabinets,” Yost says of Charles Yost Custom Cabinetry’s beginnings on January 1, 1987. He represented GE to a cabinet manufacturer and watched the industry closely while still working for the company. GE was selling high-end televisions and marketing them as furniture. Yost oversaw quality control for the television cabinets. While still with GE, he went to Bob Norris of RT Norris Custom Cabinets to learn and help him.
“The idea for this company came about when Riverside approached me with a need for somebody who could build a cabinet,” Yost says of what led to his current vocation. Riverside had a problem with its locker manufacturer and asked if Yost would finish them. Yost needed a place and rented part of his current location from Bill Forrest of Pompeii Tile who became a great supporter and friend. Yost’s ability to complete the work quickly resulted in frequent projects. Ultimately, he began bidding work with local contractors.
Charles Yost Custom Cabinets works with preferred, Class-A contractors with whom great relationships have developed.
“Sometimes Riverside Regional Health Center will call with a need for immediate renovation of a floor or the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit,” says John Lawson, executive chairman of W. M. Jordan and one of Yost company’s relationships. “We call Chick and he does what it takes to provide what we need. We continue to do business together because Yost provides the service we need.”
The company manufactures high-quality, architectural millwork, countertops and office furniture, but primarily provides specialized plastic-laminated cabinetry. It does countertops as well, whether they are a custom-designed material or any other type of stone.
Yost work can be seen throughout the area: Virginia Living Museum renovations for more than a decade includes its main building’s fish tanks cabinetry and the children’s veterinarian clinic; Norfolk SPCA; Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters Hospital (CHKD) in Norfolk and Newport News; Eastern Virginia Medical School; Riverside, Sentara and Bon Secours hospitals; City Center’s One Fountain Way and Two City Center; nursing homes; schools; doctors’ offices; and most recently, a Richmond school and the new Langley Measurements building for NASA.
Chick’s son, Charles “Chip” Yost, III is project manager. He’s been in the business since high school, He’s the ideal person to transition when Chick needs to hand over the reins.
“When I have to be away, Chip says, ‘I got it, dad!’ I’m proud of that,” Yost says.
“In 1989, Chick asked if I would I come by and help him out for a few day,” says Dottie Grace, office manager and Yost’s cousin. “Thirty-two years later, we are still together, helping each other out every day.”
Yost is a longstanding, award-winning member of the Warwick Rotary Club at City Center. He volunteers through Noland Memorial Methodist Church for PORT Winter Shelter for the homeless through Link of Hampton Roads. He contributes to CHKD, especially through 20 years with W. M. Jordan’s annual charitable golf tournament. He also contributes to breast cancer charities.
Yost’s daughter, Amy, is a nurse at the Veterans Affairs Hospital and has two children, Ava and Kai. Chip’s son, Hunter, is 17.
Annually, Chick and Barbara travel to the Corvettes of Carlisle in Pennsylvania.
“I travel with the boys,” Chick adds of 14 years of trips with friends. “We’ve done the Grand Canyon, Nova Scotia’s Prince Edward Island, Yellowstone, The Dakotas, The Rockies, The Smoky Mountains and visited the six West Coast baseball teams.”
Kelly Peck, executive vice president of commercial lending with TowneBank, Oyster Point, has known Yost for years. “I’m his business banker and he is an honest, forthright businessman and a dedicated family man,” says Peck. “He and his company did all the beautiful woodwork and cabinets in our building when we opened.”
“I always wanted to have a company that would give back to its people,” Chick Yost says of offering great benefits and savings plans to its 25 employees, some who have been with him for 20 years. “Our proudest achievement is that we’ve gone forward every year and the employees have gone forward with us.”
TO THE POINT:
Charles Yost Custom Cabinets, Inc.
Address: 11842 Tug Boat Ln., Newport News, VA 23606
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