BRISTOL TOWNSHIP, Pa. - Last week's sudden closure of Northeastern cabinet retailer Solid Wood Cabinets has left customers and employees reeling. The retailer cited tariffs as the primary reason for the abrupt shut down, which left more than 200 employees jobless.
“I went on the website yesterday and saw their announcement and then called to confirm, only to get the recording that business had ceased,” customer Linda Nielsen told the Bucks County Courier Times. “Our contractor has already started the job and now, no cabinets.”
Homeowner Bo Ostrowski said she is out $6,000 for cabinets promised to be finished by January 28. The Better Business Bureau has reported dozens of similar customer complaints.
Solid Wood, a “factory-direct” retail company with 12 locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, urged customers to "seek advice from their credit card or financing provider regarding merchandise that has not yet been received."
Solid Wood's 200+ employees were also blindsided. Employee Cindy Juillet told 6ABC that the company's owners expressed a bright future during a company-wide meeting last November. Employees received no notice, she says - they were told when they arrived to work the company was closing that day. Juillet said the company had recently taken out a $2 million loan.
An anonymous employee told the Courier Times that employees wouldn't be paid for their final week of work. Solid Wood management has yet to respond to news outlets.
The company posted a lengthy statement on its site after the closure, citing a "perfect storm of issues" that forced its hand. One of those issues was Chinese tariffs.
"Unfortunately 2019 created the perfect storm of issues for our company starting with the imposition of tariffs of up to 25% on the cabinets that we import from China. This was then compounded by an Anti-Dumping petition filed by a group representing domestic cabinet manufacturers. This caused the vast majority of the Chinese factories to simply stop producing product for the US market and either focus on other markets or commence the relocation of their factories to other Asian countries.
"This was catastrophic to us and meant that our supply of cabinets virtually dried up leaving us to find alternative products domestically. An affirmative preliminary finding on October 3rd by the US Commerce department meant that Anti Dumping duties of up to 262%, with an average of 39%, were applied to our products in addition to the 25% tariffs that were already in place." See the whole statement.
Solid Wood says on its website it has sold over one million pieces of cabinetry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The company's products were sourced from its factories worldwide to its 160,000 square foot assembly facility. It built more than 1,500 cabinets each week
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