MIDDLEBURG — Joe Kantz, Snyder County commissioner chair, issued a written statement after it was learned that Wood-Mode in Kreamer was closing.
He noted he was doing what he could to ensure the more than 900 employees affected would have a rapid response to unemployment applications, job search resources and basic needs.
“I’m very disheartened by the fact that Wood-Mode management did not give any local or state government officials a notification of this terrible turn of events,” Kantz wrote. “The hundreds of employees of Wood-Mode and their families deserve better. I have received many phone calls from inside and outside our county, and I’m asking everyone to pray for the employees and their families.”
Kantz was hopeful that neighbors would help one another and show the nation the spirit of the small, rural county. He was also hopeful that Monday’s developments were not the final chapter for the business.
“One would hope a restructuring would happen,” he added. “And many employees would be hired back, but that all remains to be seen.”
Kitchens, baths and other wood cabinetry was first produced by Wood-Mode in 1942. The company grew from a location in a former planing mill into a 1.3 million square foot facility. It was the country’s largest manufacturer of custom built cabinetry with most of the production done in Kreamer.
As noted in a 2013 Standard-Journal “Progress” article, Tom Morgensen, vice president and director of human resources, said the fortunes of the company depended on the strength of the housing industry. He conceded the company had ups and downs, but had weathered both the Great Recession and the savings and loan bailout of the 1990s. The company introduced Brookhaven, a semi-custom line of cabinetry at a lower price point, during the mid-1990s.