Friday, August 9, 2019

Wood-Mode Purchase Completed; New Owner Hopes to Hire up to 500

The Wood-Mode plant in Kreamer, PA that closed abruptly on May 13, leaving 938 people without jobs, will soon be back in the business of producing custom wood cabinets.

New owner Bill French, owner of Professional Building Systems in nearby Middleburg, PA, said Thursday he has completed his purchase of the company’s assets.

He declined to reveal the purchase price but said Great Rock Capital has the money. Great Rock, which was Wood-Mode’s primary lender, got the money because all the company had were debts, he said.

About six weeks ago, French began calling back employees for special needs such as for maintenance and to contact dealers. There currently are 14 working, he said.

He anticipates taking job applications in a couple weeks with a goal, depending on how many orders the company receives, of hiring between 200 and 500 employees, he said. Wood-Mode had many fine crafts people, he said.

It has been a challenging time since he announced in June he had an agreement in principle to buy the Wood-Mode assets but, he said, “I think it’s been worth it,” he said.

Several times it appeared an agreement had been reached but something came up that required starting over, he said.

“I think we’ll have a successful company,” said French, who owns Professional Building Systems in Middleburg, which manufactures modular homes and apartments.

Wood-Mode had hundreds of dealers and of those he’s contacted so far, only two said they would not be back, he said.

Delivery of the finished orders will begin immediately, he said. Product that dealers cannot use because they filled their orders elsewhere will be sold as samples, French said.

“It’s exciting,” said Robert Garrett, CEO of the Central Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce.

What is particularly exciting is his plan to rehire former employees, he said.

There was a sense of urgency to see the sale happen, he said. Snyder County’s unemployment rate nearly doubled to 6.1 percent, the highest in the state, after the plant shut down, Garrett said.

Some of the 938 people who were left without jobs when the plant closed without warning have found other jobs. But a number have indicated on social media they would like to return.

Wood-Mode CEO Robert Gronlund and his son, R. Brooks Gronlund, president and chief operating officer, are not involved in the new ownership.

Included in the assets that French bought is the building in Selinsgrove housing Wood Metal Industries.

From an article on PennLive

1 comment:

Bill Hart said...

Thank you Gary! You care about our mod valley here, and it shows.. none of us here have gone untouched by the negative job loss ripple effect of olde Wood Mode closing, none of us! Thanks you for your continued support and concerns..and that's from all of us here in our good olde susquehanna mod country USA! ..Bill