Cap­i­tal busi­ness clos­ing its doors

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - The Province - BY JIM DAY

A Char­lot­te­town wood­work com­pany that en­joyed rapid growth be­tween 2002 and 2006 has come to a crash­ing halt.

A dou­ble whammy of tough eco­nomic times com­bined with a high Cana­dian dol­lar (al­most all busi­ness was ex­port­ing prod­uct to the United States) has spelled the end of Cab­i­net-mas­ter Ar­chi­tec­tural Wood­work Ltd., says com­pany pres­i­dent Gordie Kirk­patrick.

“For all in­tense and pur­poses, we will be done next week,’’ Kirk­patrick told The Guardian Fri­day. “ We are pretty dis­ap­pointed.’’ Cab­i­net-mas­ter was founded in 1980 as a divi­sion of Pre-built Struc­tures Ltd., start­ing out as a small kitchen cab­i­net com­pany.

Kirk­patrick pur­chased the com­pany in Fe­bru­ary 2002 and moved the fol­low­ing year to the old Coca Cola bot­tling plant on Kens­ing­ton Road in Char­lot­te­town.

Ex­pan­sions in­cluded a sec­ond plant on Jor­dan Cres­cent in 2005 and a 2,250 square me­tre plant in Mon­tague in 2006 as Kirk­patrick grew the busi­ness into a premier com­mer­cial mill­work man­u­fac­turer, ship­ping to clients such as Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional and the U.S. State Depart­ment in Bar­ba­dos.

He says the com­pany reached peak em­ploy­ment in 2006 at about 105, up from 10 em­ploy­ees at the time Kirk­patrick ac­quired the busi­ness.

How­ever, Cab­i­net-mas­ter was forced to close the Mon­tague plant one year ago and en­tered 2009 with just 50 em­ploy­ees.

“ We are down to less than 20 (now) and next week there will be none,’’ he said.

The re­main­ing em­ploy­ees are fin­ish­ing up a fi­nal con­tract.

Kirk­patrick says a pri­vate in­vestor is will­ing to fund a re­struc­tur­ing of the op­er­a­tion but the prov­ince is not will­ing to sell the build­ing to the in­vestor for a price Kirk­patrick de­scribes as “mar­ket value given the cur­rent state of the econ­omy.’’

Guardian photo

Char­lot­te­town wood­work com­pany Cabi­net­mas­ter is clos­ing.

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