Kitchen & Bath Design News

JUL 2019

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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Wilsonart, Hyundai Mark Joint Venture TEMPLE, TX — Wilsonart Engineered Surfaces and Hyundai L&C USA have cel- ebrated the opening of a new factory aimed at supporting a joint business venture between the two surfacing product suppliers. The Temple, TX facility will provide manufacturing capabilities to support growth for the Wilsonart and Hanex solid surfaces product lines, produced under the terms of a 15-year-old joint-venture alliance known as American Surfacing Materials, LLC (ASM), according to the companies. The 135,000-sq.-ft. factory has the capacity to produce up to 300,000 sheets of solid surface annually, according to the companies. The plant's location will also allow both companies "to maximize product availability, proximity to customers and better serve the solid surface market with American-made products," oŽcials said. "This new ASM solid surface manufacturing facility o'ers both our companies an innovative, state-of-the-art facility that will deliver distinctive products our customers can't find anywhere else," said Tim O'Brien, CEO of Wilsonart. "The new plant is an excellent collaboration between two leaders in the industry [and] will allow both companies to better serve their customers," he added. BSH Targets Digital Firm For Investment IRVINE, CA — BSH Home Appliance Corp., corporate parent of the Bosch, Therma- dor and Gaggenau appliance brands, has become a strategic investor in Chefling, an online service aimed at linking digital resources with home appliances. Announcement of the investment was made by BSH as part of a corporate strat- egy to "provide added value" by supplying connected hardware and digital services for cooking, grocery management and other functions to appliance consumers. "Chefling o'ers smart kitchen solutions based on an artificial-intelligence-driven platform that seamlessly incorporates inventory organization, personalized recipe suggestions and smart device integration to simplify the cooking experience," BSH said. "A growing number of consumers are turning to apps and smart assistants when it comes to better organize their household," said Mario Pieper, head of the Digital Business Unit at BSH. "We see that digitalization o'ers new opportunities to give consumers the right level of information and support just when they need it. "With Chefling's Artificial Intelligence technology platform, both companies are in a strong position to raise the bar on personalized services and assistance in the kitchen." Chefling will initially focus on developing new applications and technologies, as well as increasing its user base and partnerships in its North American home mar- ket, according to BSH, which said its funds will be used to further grow its business and to expand product, marketing and technology development teams in the U.S. and India. As part of the strategic partnership, Chefling is planning market expan- sion and will further integrate with BSH products and services, the company said. "This strategic investment will help us to not only bring new features and capa- bilities to our users, but also to create the end-to-end meal preparation platform of the future," said Je' Xie, Chefling co-founder. In 2017, BSH announced the acquisition of a majority stake in the Berlin start- up Kitchen Stories, which o'ers consumers recipe inspiration and step-by-step guidance, photos and videos. RTA Cabinet Alliance Fighting E•ort To Impose Duties on Chinese Imports WASHINGTON, DC — An alliance of distributors, dealers, contractors, installers and importers of ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets has been formed to fight charges by U.S. cabinet interests that unfair trade practices warrant the imposition of antidumping penalties on Chinese cabinet imports. The coalition, known as the American Coalition of Cabinet Distributors (ACCD), was launched to fight an antidumping and countervailing duty petition that seeks to impose substantial duties on imports of RTA cabinets from China (see related story, page 14). The unfair-trade petition was filed in March by the American Kitchen Cabinet Al- liance (AKCA), a coalition of major cabinet manufacturers and component suppliers that has alleged that, as a result of unfair trade practices, imports of Chinese-made kitchen cabinets pose an existential threat to the U.S. cabinet trade. The AKCA is seeking to have trade oŽcials impose antidumping penalties on the Chinese. The ACCD was formed to oppose the antidumping and countervailing duty petitions, since imposition of the proposed duties, according to the coalition, "could e'ectively eliminate the RTA option from the U.S. marketplace." "The made-to-order cabinet manufacturers that filed this trade case are seeking to wipe out the RTA market segment by taking advantage of anti-China trade sen- timent," said ACCD member Randy Goldstein, chief executive oŽcer of Raleigh, NC-based Kitchen Cabinet Distributors. The RTA sector of the domestic cabinet industry, the ACCD argues, is based on a business model in which companies import and warehouse stackable cabinet products, making them readily available to dealers, contractors, builders and in- stallers on-demand. RTA cabinets fill a specific consumer need by making a limited selection of options available in a matter of days, a dramatically faster turnaround time than other types of cabinets. The ACCD, according to the coalition, represents small- and medium-sized busi- nesses that account for less than 10% of the U.S. domestic cabinet industry, but directly employ tens of thousands of American workers and indirectly support many more. "Small- and medium-sized businesses throughout the U.S. that rely on RTA imports have formed this coalition [and] we will make sure that policymakers, elected oŽcials and the public understand the facts of this case and the damage that duties would have on remodelers and builders across the country, as well as on American homeowners," Goldstein added. "The imported RTA sector makes up a small portion of the U.S. cabinet mar- ket," said Coalition member Missy O'Daniel, president of Charlotte, NC-based Web-Don Inc. "Domestic producers dominate the market. Our success has done nothing to impede the growth of the larger U.S. kitchen cabinet industry, which continues to prosper today. In fact, made-to-order cabinet producers have steadily increased their prices and shipment volumes over the past several years, hardly a sign of industry malaise." "Given that import duties would have a significant, harmful impact on workers and businesses across the U.S., and would hurt American consumers who benefit from access to the broadest array of cabinet choices possible, the coalition urges the ITC to continue to subject the petitioners' self-serving assertions to the most careful scrutiny," O'Daniel said. Founder of California Faucets Passes Away HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA — Fred Silverstein, the founder of California Faucets in Huntington Beach, CA, passed away recently at the age of 86. He founded the company – which manufactures decorative fittings including faucets, shower fit- tings and drains – in 1988 based on three pillars: handcrafted quality, quick delivery and superior service, according to the company. "My father was a born entrepreneur who was not afraid to take innovative risks, but his guiding principle was, 'Do the right thing,'" said Je' Sliverstein, president and CEO of the company. In 2017, the Decorative Plumbing Hardware Association inducted Silverstein into its Council of Fellows. A charter member of the organization, his contributions included supporting annual scholarships, providing manpower behind the scenes and encouraging employees and peers to become involved. Leaders of Wilsonart Engineered Surfaces and Hyandai L&C USA celebrate the opening of a new joint plant in Temple, TX with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. 16 Kitchen & Bath Design News • July 2019 INDUSTRY UPDATE NOTEWORTHY DEVELOPMENTS IMPACTING THE KITCHEN AND BATH MARKET

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