Wood-Metal files for bankruptcy
January 12, 2022 | 3:57 pm CST

A corporate project completed by Wood-Metal, a Pennsylvania company that has entered into bankruptcy.

SELINSGROVE, Pa. — The Wood-Metal company has filed for bankruptcy, according to a report in The Daily Item in Sunbury, Pa. The paper reports that more than $2 million in bills have not been paid.

Wood-Metal is one of three companies owned by  Maurice and Deb Brubaker. The other two companies are William Penn Cabinetry, which is currently closed due to financial problems, and Stanley Woodworking, which is also reportedly struggling with outstanding financial and payroll issues.

Robert Chernicoff, a Harrisburg-based Chapter 11 attorney who is representing the Brubakers told the Daily Item that, “William Penn is closed and probably will not reopen. We’re hopeful Stanley Woodworking and Wood-Metal will survive.” 

Chapter 11 allows companies to restructure payment plans to creditors while remaining in business. Chernicoff told the paper that negotiations to determine options for the two other companies are underway.

The Brubakers launched William Penn Cabinetry as a high-end cabinet manufacturer in Freeburg, Pa., in February 2020, and purchased Stanley Woodworking, a 40-year-old Middleburg company, one month later just as the global health pandemic struck.

In October, production at William Penn shut down. Work has slowed considerably at Stanley and only a handful of the 25 employees are still working there, the Daily Item reported.

Additionally, the newspaper said the Brubakers began “bouncing checks” and failed to inform employees for months that they had dropped benefits while continuing to deduct contributions from their paychecks.

The Brubakers have been evicted from two of their three Snyder County business locations, and employees of Stanley Woodworking have reportedly filed a civil suit to recoup monies owed to them. Complaints of insurance fraud were also filed with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office.

According to the Daily Item, the couple defaulted on a June 2021 payment to former Stanley Woodworking owner R. Thomas Fitzgerald, but still purchased the Wood-Metal company in August. That company had previously been owned by the late Robert Gronlund, who was at the helm of the former Wood-Mode Inc. in Kreamer when that business abruptly shut down after 77 years and put nearly 1,000 people out of work in May 2019. Local businessman Bill French later bought the assets of Wood-Mode and revived the company, hiring back many of the original workers.

Fitzgerald told The Daily Item last month that the Brubakers owe him $1.7 million for Stanley Woodworking and he doesn’t expect the business will be able to survive losing “key” customers.

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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).