KREAMER – The Valley’s largest employer is back in operation and dozens of the long-time workers are happy to be back at a place they call home. Wood-Mode Custom Cabinetry’s main production restarted about two weeks ago.
Amber Rousch of Mount Pleasant Mills worked at Wood-Mode for almost 19 years before the massive layoffs in May. She’s back at the company working as a floater, performing various tasks in different departments, “We were all a family. This is a good place for you to start out working. I was 18-years-old whenever I started working here, and now I’m 37-years-old and I enjoy it.”
Chad Wolfe of Sunbury also was at Wood-Mode for about 19 years before May’s layoffs. He is also back as a floater, and says there have been some challenges getting back into production, “We sort of had to get used to getting back in the groove of, ‘Ok, now I gotta do this, do that,’ and you have to figure out what was done from previous and try to get that finish, and you have to organize that. First week was a little rough.”
Middleburg Businessman Bill French, who purchased the company and now owns it, says the process has been what he envisioned, “We’ll see how the orders go with the dealers, but so far, we’re hearing good things. One of the things that people don’t understand about the Wood-Mode situation is that it’s not only the local people, the employees, that were laid off, this has also affected dealers nationwide. So we’ve reached out to dealers, most of them know now that we’re back in production, and orders are going well.”
French says over 400 dealers are back working with the company, after 600 were aboard before last spring’s closing. He says over 200 employees have been re-hired so far; that’s about 30-35 employees were hired per week over the last three weeks. In addition to new orders, the company is also trying to re-purpose all leftover, unfinished orders before its closing. We have a gallery of photos and video from production posted here.