Talladega, AL – MasterBrand Cabinets, headquartered in Jasper, IN, filed a formal WARN notice today announcing it will shut down its kitchen cabinet plant in Talladega, AL, laying off around 300 employees by June. WARN notices are Federally required documents filed by employers in advance of large layoffs.
MasterBrand acquired the plant soon after Bemis, a fabric and paper bag manufacturer, closed it in 1979. Bemis had produced printed cloth bags for rice and potatoes at the site since 1858. MasterBrand issued the following statement for media:
MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc. has continued to see market conditions and consumer tastes change over the last few years. To improve operational efficiencies while addressing these market changes, we will close the Talladega, AL manufacturing plant. Production will continue until early June 2021. Products manufactured in the Talladega facility will be produced at our other U.S. manufacturing locations.
MasterBrand Cabinets is committed to assisting our 300 associates through the transition. The company will provide additional compensation, coordination with all state and local agencies to help find new employment, and resources from our Employee Assistance Program. Additionally, we encourage all our associates to apply for opportunities at our other manufacturing facilities.
The changing market conditions and a shift in consumer tastes was well documented in an analysts’ quarterly earnings interview with Nick Fink, CEO of MasterBrand parent Fortune Brands Home & Security. MasterBrand Cabinets reported an 11% rise in fourth quarter kitchen cabinet sales, reaching $655.5 million.
“The key millennial generation has accelerated their delayed move toward household formation, and they’re showing increased interest in home ownership,” Fink says. “Pandemic or no pandemic, this generation’s move toward household formation had to happen as they formed families [for whom] we simply lack the housing stock.”
MasterBrand’s less expensive cabinet lines received a boost by anti-dumping tariffs, which blocked Chinese competition. The lines are favored by the next generation homeowners, whose preferences are driving a longer-term shift to value-priced products and away from semi-custom and custom cabinets. Anti-dumping duties and tariffs on Chinese cabinetmakers have helped MasterBrand overall, and the demand for value-priced cabinets will now be met by its new Georgia plant.
“Within our value price-point cabinets, we continue to gain share from both domestic players and from the absence of Chinese suppliers who have exited the market over the past few months, or who’ve been replaced to a lesser extent with other importers with higher costs and longer lead times,” Fink says.
While production continues in Talladega through June, MasterBrand is working with Alabama state and local agencies to help employees find new employment.
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