Lessons Consumers Can Learn From Wood-Mode & CWP Cabinetry Closing Doors.
There are lessons consumers and kitchen dealers can learn from Wood-Mode and CWP Cabinetry Going Out Of Business
On Monday, May 13th, 2019 Wood-Mode Fine Custom Cabinetry officially closed its doors after 77 years in business. Like many of the cabinetry manufactures, they never wholly recovered from the last recession. In 2008 the company had nearly 1,900 employees. They were down to 1,000 when they closed their doors last week. Wood-Mode is the second custom cabinet manufacturer in the United States to close their doors in 2019. CWP Cabinetry in Roanoke, VA also closed their doors after 50 years in business.
The impact of the companies closing goes far beyond their nearly 1,000 employees who are out of work. Our hearts go out to the workers who were displaced. But we must not overlook the impact this has on small business owners who have been loyally reselling their products and the consumers who purchase from the dealers.
First let’s look at the impact this has on the consumers who have purchased Wood-Mode Cabinetry.
For those who have been in the design process or have ordered product buy not had it delivered. They will most likely have to start the design process over. Select a different manufacturer, door style, color, etc. The impact can be devastating if they have already removed their current kitchen in preparation for delivery of the new kitchen. This can equal many weeks without a kitchen in their house. Remodeling projects list as one of the top stressors people go through in life, having to start over will make this project even more stressful.
For those consumers who already have Wood-Mode installed, your warranty is no longer good. So, the best thing you can do if you have any product issues is to contact the dealer you purchased the product through to see if they can help you fix any issues that arise. Please be patient with the dealer since the warranty was through a manufacturer that is no longer in business.
What to do if you have the following issues:
- Broken Door Hinge or Runner – You most likely will be able to file a claim with the hardware manufacturer. Most hardware manufacturers have warranties on their product, some are lifetime. Contact the dealer you purchased the kitchen from to see if they can help you through the warranty claim process. At a minimum they will be able to tell you who the hardware manufacturer is.
- Issues with finish or broken doors & drawer fronts. Since the warranty was with the manufacturer, you will probably need to take care of these issues on your own. The dealer you purchased your kitchen from can probably point you in the direction of a good furniture refinisher. The use of these professional refinishers is common in the cabinet and furniture industry.
So what questions should consumers ask before they decide to work with a manufacturer of kitchen or bathroom cabinets?
- Is the company in strong financial shape?
- Length of time in business is not as important as financial strength.
- Is their business growing?
- If it is not growing it is a warning sign.
- What is the company’s quality like?
- Does the company stand behind their product?
- Does the manufacturer deliver complete (No Back
- Excessive back orders are often a sign that the manufacturer is having financial problems. This often happens when their suppliers put them on credit hold.
Now let’s look at the impact on kitchen and bath dealers. Wood-Mode had approximately 400 dealers selling their product in 45 states. Those dealers have made significant display investments in both Wood-Mode & Brookhaven. They now have to replace their displays if they want to have a showroom that reflects the products they sell. Display investments are only the tip of the iceberg for these dealers. Many dealers have orders that have been placed with Wood-Mode but have not yet been delivered to them. These dealers are faced with spending countless hours re-ordering product from another manufacturer or possibly losing these sales. In our social media driven world, many of these dealers will get bad reviews from their customers because of this situation. All of these delays, lost sales and loss of reputation will negatively affect these dealers financially.
Dealers often learn the hard way about the questions they should ask manufacturers. Dealers learn from each episode like this.