William Penn Cabinetry remains shuttered
November 22, 2021 | 8:55 am CST

William Penn Cabinetry remains shuttered as the business works out supply chain and other issues.

FREEBURG, Pa. — Production at the William Penn Cabinetry company remains shut down and financial problems appear to have spread to sister company Stanley Woodworking, according to an item in the Daily Item newspaper.

In late October, production at William Penn was halted due to what co-owner Maurice Brubaker attributed to supply chain issues.

“It is the supply chain, not mismanagement,” said co-owner Maurice Brubaker, responding to some employee complaints, according to the Nov. 19 report.

He and his wife, Deb Brubaker, launched the Freeburg-based William Penn Cabinetry in February 2020. A month later they purchased Stanley Woodworking in Middleburg that provides some of the components for their custom kitchen cabinet production. In August, the Brubakers acquired Wood-Metal Industries, a Selinsgrove business founded.

The report said that employees at Stanley Woodworking and William Penn say the issue is mismanagement, not supply shortages, and they have filed complaints with the state Department of Labor and Industry and Pennsylvania Insurance Commission after having difficulty collecting wages and  losing medical and disability coverage.

Ken Hackenberg, a 26-year Stanley Woodworking employee, told the Daily Item that, “We had a very good company and the Brubakers are blowing it. Even during the tough times of the recession we always had work and got paid.” He said the Middleburg plant is still operating despite losing workers in recent months because customers are supplying materials to get their orders filled.

Keith Clarke, president of Hampton Bay Homes, in Orlando, Fla., had placed three orders with William Penn Cabinetry. One of Hampton Bay Homes’ three orders has been filled, he told the newspaper, but two other orders were switched from William Penn to Wood-Metals and his $70,000 deposit was taken out of the account before the material was purchased to complete his cabinets.

He’s been in negotiations with the Brubakers and William Penn Cabinetry President Doug Lauver for weeks, Clarke said, which included a promise of a Thanksgiving delivery. He has since provided material to the company and received written confirmation on Friday that the work would be done.

“All I want is for them to fill the orders,” Clarke said.

Maurice Brubaker said Friday he has confidence in his leadership team that they will be able to address the issues, though he doesn’t know when — or if — William Penn Cabinetry will resume production and put the 80 employees back to work.

Employees have had issues getting their paychecks, and have had their health insurance coverage dropped. The company has encouraged its worker to sign up for unemployment insurance. 

The Daily Item obtained an email from the Brubaker’s to its employees that said the company didn’t have the funds to cover payroll checks, blaming the problem on “supply chain issues and non-payment from customers.”

To see the complete Daily Item story, click here

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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).